Salvation Army report shows Norfolk care inequality
A new report on adult social care by The Salvation Army shows that Norfolk County Council is amongst the local authorities with the lowest spending power for the care of older people in England.
The report, called Care in Places, was published last week by The Salvation Army, and shows that there are deep levels of funding inequality across the entire country, and this prevents most local authorities from providing adequate social care for older residents.
Adult Social Care is largely funded by local business rates, council tax and other local charges but areas with lower house prices and fewer businesses cannot raise as much money as more urban areas. This means there can be significantly less money to care for older people who live in the more rural areas across England.
Research commissioned by The Salvation Army reveals Norfolk County Council has around £7,000 per person per year available to spend on residents needing care in later life, meaning it is amongst the local authorities with the lowest spending power in England. When the cost of residential and nursing care can rise above £30,000 per person per year, it’s easy to see why many local authorities are struggling to fund adult social care.
The Salvation Army is asking the Government to prioritise the proper funding of adult social care and funding most of it centrally. This is the only way to ensure that money is distributed more fairly, and that all older people get the help they need.
Lieut-Colonel Dean Pallant, of The Salvation Army, said:
“Rural local authorities have been set up to fail with this flawed formula and it urgently needs revision. People are living longer, and the population is ageing, the adult social care bill is rising but the local authority funding streams aren’t enough to cover the demand, especially in areas where there are not many businesses or people to tax.
“The Government must prioritise its spending and properly fund adult social care. For years the rhetoric has been that councils can raise enough funds through local taxation to pay for older peoples' care. This Salvation Army analysis proves that local authorities are being asked to achieve the impossible. Put simply; you can’t squeeze local businesses for more tax if your local businesses are struggling.
“The Salvation Army’s residential care homes see the impact of this funding flaw every day. We are caring for people who don’t have the savings to pay for their own care and stepping in where the council can’t pay for the care.”
The Salvation Army report showed that:
• Some areas are able to raise up to five times more revenue than other authorities.
• It does not follow that areas with lower populations just don’t need to raise as much money. The analysis shows that their funding streams are so depleted they just cannot raise sufficient funds.
• The Salvation Army’s care homes top up what it costs the local authority to run a care home. In several areas what the local authority is able to provide does not even cover the staffing costs.
• While rural areas are the worst hit, the funding disparity does affect urban areas too, especially those that have been hit by years of economic decline.
• The Salvation Army runs 12 residential care homes across the United Kingdom, and the average level of subsidy that provided by the organisation is £302.00 per person per week.
Sue, 73, has a range of health issues and is being cared for in The Salvation Army’s Furze Hill House in North Walsham in Norfolk. Her husband, Fred, is 82. When they married, Fred already had three children, and now they have nine grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
Fred pays around £800 a month directly to the local authority to subsidise the cost of his wife’s care. Despite this significant contribution from their savings and Sue’s pension, what the local authority then pays The Salvation Army doesn’t cover the true costs of Sue’s care and so the church and charity also pay a top up.
The 82-year-old, who himself has suffered two heart attacks, said: “I am worried about the costs of the top up. It seems very unfair. I looked at several other homes, and none of them were suitable. As soon as I walked through the door at The Salvation Army’s care home, I knew it was the right place. I visit Sue every day.”
Lieut-Colonel Dean Pallant continued:
“In a few days we will know who our new Prime minster is. His priority must be to set a proper timetable for the long-awaited Green Paper on Adult Social Care as that will be an opportunity to rethink how we fund caring for older people. He must also consider how we spend the money saved by years of reducing national debt. The UK has worked hard to close the deficit, it’s time to invest the savings made on those most at need.”
For more information or to read the full report, visit www.salvationarmy.org.uk
The image above is courtesy of www.salvationarmy.org.uk