The Government published its well anticipated Autumn Statement today. There is plenty to digest but one stand out point for many Local Authorities is confirmation that the Cap on Care Cost, which was set to begin from October 2023 will now be delayed for a further 2 years until October 2025. For many Local Authorities this delay will be welcome news given the implementation of the cap to include the large number of additional assessments and other administrative burdens of implementing the cap was going to be extremely costly.
The Autumn Statement also indicates that the Government will make up to £2.8 billion in 2023-24 and £4.7 billion in 2024-25 to help support adult social care and discharge. This includes £1 billion of new grant funding in 2023-24 and £1.7 billion in 2024-25. This comes along with an indication of Local Authorities being provided more flexibility on council tax. This flexibility will allow Local Authorities in England to increase Council tax by up to 3% without having to hold a referendum, whilst also allowing them to increase the adult social care precept by up to 2% per year.
Time needs to now be taken to consider the finer details, however there is no doubt that the Adult Social Care system still faces challenges in the coming years and many will continue to have real questions about both the level of funding made available when considered against the growing demand for services and a struggling care work force.
The recovery of adult social care charges is unlikely to get any easier as individuals struggle with the impact of inflation and the cost of living crisis. It is clear that ensuring those who are liable to pay for charges do so will remain a vital tool for Local Authorities who will need to reinvest those funds in the delivery of essential services. It is critical that as budgets tighten and demand grows Local Authorities use this period of delay to review their strategic approach to collecting adult social care debts. Ensuring that those who are liable to pay and who can pay do so whilst protecting the most vulnerable and continuing to deliver the critical services that so many rely upon.
Written by : Rachel Addai, Partner
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