The extra better care fund cash promised to local government in the spending review is expected to be worth just £100m in 2017-18.
The chancellor George Osborne said in last month’s spending review that additional funds would be made available for an “improved better care fund” from 2017. He said this would be worth £1.5bn by 2019-20.
In an interview with HSJ’s sister title Local Government Chronicle, communities secretary Greg Clark confirmed last week that £800m of that would come from the ”new homes bonus” and £700m would be new money from the Treasury. However he declined to say how much money would be available in the years prior to 2019-20.
Sources have told LGC there will only be £100m of additional money for the better care fund in 2017-18 and about £700m in 2018-19.
The Department for Communities and Local Government declined to comment on the figures but did not dispute them.
One director of adult social care told LGC the delay in putting the extra better care fund money into the system would hit the NHS as well as social care because it would make it more difficult to reduce demand for hospital care.
He said: “The BCF monies being largely delayed for two years until 2018-19 is not helpful as most councils will have had to make significant savings or cuts before then. This is a major risk to the NHS as it is likely to impact on capacity and could inadvertently add to the current pressures within the system.”
Another director said the extra money was “not unwelcome but it is not going to solve the problems”. He added that in 2019-20 councils will be dealing with the full impact of the increased national living wage and implementation of part two of the Care Act - the delayed cap on care costs. “Unless they provide extra alongside that, 2020 is going to be a nightmare where everything comes at once. Where we are at the moment is not sustainable,” he said.
Richard Webb, director for health and adult services at North Yorkshire County Council, said the extra better care fund money was a “welcome step”.
He added: “However, we have yet to see the full details and we need to be confident that, at a time of major financial pressures within the NHS, any new funding for social care will be transferred in full.”
A DCLG spokesman said the government’s “£3.5bn package” for social care, which also includes money councils could raise through the social care precept, was “greater than the Local Government Association’s £2.9bn estimate” of the size of the gap in social care funding by 2020.
The LGA said the forecast £2.9bn comes on top of a gap of nearly £5bn that developed during the last parliament, taking the total difference between demand and funding to £7.9bn by the end of the decade.
The DCLG spokesman added: “We have listened to local government’s request for flexibility to support vital services.”
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Extra BCF cash worth £100m in first year