Social care funding gap inquiry launched by MPs

Jeremy Hunt Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA

MPs have launched an inquiry to establish how much money the social care sector needs to avoid shortages.

The Health and Social Care Committee will look at how much extra money is needed from the Government over each of the next five years.

Members will also examine workforce shortages and what measures are needed to address these.

Committee chairman Jeremy Hunt said: “This long-standing crisis comes with a huge cost to families and individuals who can’t get the social care they need.

“But it affects us all when a lack of availability prevents people leaving hospital, contributing to increased pressure on the NHS.

“We’ll be establishing an agreed figure that represents the extra funding that’s needed in each of the next five years in order to fix this.

“As well as extra money, we’ll be examining solutions to tackle staffing shortages in social care that would be responsive to workforce changes.”

It comes after Health Secretary Matt Hancock wrote to MPs and peers across Westminster to initiate talks on social care.

Last week, Mr Hancock said he wanted to build a cross-party consensus as he asked colleagues for their views on how to “progress this crucial agenda”.

In the election, the Conservatives promised to “urgently seek a cross-party consensus” in order to “bring forward the necessary proposal and legislation for long-term reform”.

The public, organisations and others with relevant expertise have until April 14 to submit evidence.

Ian Hudspeth, chairman of the Local Government Association’s community wellbeing board, said: “People of all ages should be able to live the lives they want to lead and this inquiry is another important step in building towards a long-term, sustainable funding solution for adult social care.

“Our own analysis published ahead of this week’s Budget shows that adult social care services face a funding gap of almost £4 billion by 2025, just to cover basic inflationary and demographic pressures.

“This makes up almost two-thirds of the overall funding gap which councils face by the middle of the decade to pay for local services, due to rising cost pressures and unprecedented demand.”