London boroughs will face a £2.4 billion funding gap in adult social care between 2016/17 and 2019/20 according to predictions in a new London Councils report.
The report calls on the government to recognise this funding gap in the Comprehensive Spending Review tomorrow.
London councils are currently dealing with implementing government cuts, inflation and a growing number of people qualifying for state-funded care.
London Councils’ executive member for adult social care, Councillor Ray Puddifoot, said: “Funding constraints could see councils focusing more on essential statutory duties and meeting urgent needs at the expense of other important services, storing up trouble for the future.”
Mr Puddifoot called for more government support to plug the funding gap and help align health and social care more closely.
Merton’s Council leader Stephen Alambritis said: “The government have cut local council’s funding to such a degree that the cracks are now beginning to show across the country.
“This means making some very difficult decisions but we are determined to spend our remaining social care resources on the people who need in the most.”
The government has cut council funding by 40% over the last few years and Merton Council will need to make £15m in cuts over the next few years.
“The government have cut local council’s funding to such a degree that the cracks are now beginning to show across the country.”
Mitcham and Morden MP Siobhain McDonagh said: “These findings are a distressing reminder of the fact that adult social care is under such strain.
“Adult social care is of absolutely crucial importance, not just for elderly people, but for those with physical and learning disabilities – and the provisions for these groups looks like they are getting worse.”
She said the government have a ‘moral responsibility’ to protect not just adult social care, but also mental health and young people’s provisions.
The number of adult social care users in the capital aged 18-64 is due to rise by 60% over the next five years, compared to a 40% increase in other UK regions.
The report also shows that between now and 2020, 60% of the growth in adults who have learning disabilities will be in London and 39% of the national increase for people with mental health issues will be in London.
Tooting MP and Labour’s London mayoral candidate Sadiq Khan said: “Like everything else under this government social care budgets have been cut to the bone.
“This has led to an unsustainable burden on our hospitals with the double-whammy of an increase in hospital admissions because people aren’t getting the support they need in the community, and bed-blocking because services are too overstretched to get them home.”
Mr Khan called for more powers for the Mayor of London so that spending priorities can be set locally.
The Spending Review and Autumn Statement will be published tomorrow, and will determine how taxpayers’ money is spent on government departments and public services.
Picture courtesy of @Doug88888, with thanks