We must start plan­ning now

Sunderland Echo - - Opinion -

Re­search by Which?, show­ing al­most nine in 10 coun­cil ar­eas across Eng­land could face a short­fall in care home places by 2022, re­in­forces our warn­ing about the ur­gent need to re­form adult so­cial care.

As part of that, we need to de­liver a long-term sus­tain­able so­lu­tion that de­liv­ers a range of high qual­ity care and sup­port for the grow­ing num­ber of peo­ple who will need it.

While the £2bil­lion an­nounced in the spring bud­get for so­cial care was a step in the right di­rec­tion, it is only one-off fund­ing.

So­cial care ser­vices still face an an­nual £2.3bil­lion fund­ing gap by 2020.

But coun­cils need to be given the free­dom and flex­i­bil­ity to spend the ad­di­tional fund­ing for so­cial care in the places where they feel it will be most ef­fec­tive.

It is ab­so­lutely crit­i­cal that the gov­ern­ment uses the au­tumn bud­get to bring forward its con­sul­ta­tion for so­cial care an­nounced in the Queen’s Speech, and that it works with lo­cal gov­ern­ment lead­ers in de­liv­er­ing a long-term sus­tain­able so­lu­tion for so­cial care.

To tackle the prob­lems we face to­mor­row, we must start plan­ning to­day.

This must ad­dress the is­sue of long-term fund­ing.

But it must also cre­ate the con­di­tions nec­es­sary to en­sure the devel­op­ment of the right kind of care and sup­port ser­vices, that can meet the de­mand of an in­creas­ing num­ber of adults with care needs. Izzi Sec­combe, Chair­man, Com­mu­nity Well­be­ing Board, Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment

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