Councils facing potential £1bn shortfall in adult social care funding

Councils across the country, including Kent County Council, were able for the first time in 2016 to increase their council tax bills by up to 2% to address the funding crisis in adult social care.  The additional money raised by this increase was ring-fenced and could only be used to pay for adult social care.

This new scheme raised an additional £382m to help fund projects from help in people's homes to residential care, but does it come anywhere near filling the funding hole?

Possibly not...with social care budgets having been slashed by an estimated £4.6bn since 2011 and further cuts of 6.7% cited by Communities Secretary, Greg Clark, between the end of 2016 and 2020, up weighted in the first 2 years.

Furthermore, the National Living Wage has compounded this shortfall. Introduced in April 2016, it guarantees workers over 25 a minimum hourly rate of £7.20, a 50p increase. Those working in Social Care are notoriously among the lowest earning employees and although well deserved, will inevitably lead to a higher wage bill throughout the industry.

With the average care provider employing 100 staff, their average wage bill is likely to increase by a minimum of £96,000*. This figure will, of course, be much higher over a local authority the size of Kent - Connect2Kent have over 110 agency workers working within KCC and around 20 more workers supplied by 2nd tier agencies in any given week, and we need more. Demand for Care Support Workers is higher than ever before, despite the funding issues imposed on local authorities.  With our current ageing population we foresee more and more demands by KCC, but with cuts for the next four years, where will the additional funding come from to pay these wages?

But regardless of the funding crisis, demand for workers is high, so if you are a care or support worker with more than 6 months recent experience or an RGN get in touch, contact Jessica.lee@connect2kent.co.uk or on 01622 236616

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