Wolverhampton & Walsall hit hardest in West Midlands

 

Annual adult social care spending in the West Midlands is still £158m lower than in 2010, according to new analysis published by the TUC (Sept2020).

Responsibility for delivering social care sits with local authorities, but the policy and funding framework is set by central government.

Wolverhampton's social care spending has been cut by £18.9million a 22% cut in spend per capita (£113 less per person).

Walsall had a 25% per capita cut whilst Shropshire had a 17% increase (£61 more per person)

For England overall, spending per head of the population on adult social care in 2018/19 (latest figures) was 8% below its level in 2010

 

The full TUC report Fixing social care: better quality services and jobs is here:  https://www.tuc.org.uk/sites/default/files/2020-09/SocialCareReport.pdf

The report calls for:

  • A new funding settlement: This year’s spending review should fully offset the cuts of the previous decade and establish future rises at a level that will allow local authorities to meet rising demand and improve pay and conditions for staff.
  • Immediate funding to fill all social care vacancies: In a time of rising unemployment, social care could provide a steady source of new decent jobs. The government could act now to unlock 120,000 existing vacancies, to help those losing their jobs.
  • Fair pay and conditions for care workers: To provide sustainable livelihoods and an attractive career, all social care workers must get a sector minimum wage of at least £10 per hour. There must be an end to the zero-hours contracts, and poor or non-existent sick pay that put social care workers at risk during the pandemic. And all social care workers must have guaranteed opportunities for training and progression.
  • A national Social Care Forum: A new body is needed to bring together government, unions, employers, commissioners and providers to coordinate the delivery and development of services, including the negotiation of a workforce strategy.
  • A reduced private sector role: The government should strengthen rules to prevent financial extraction in the care sector and should phase out the for-profit model of delivery, so that all public funding is used to deliver high quality services with fair pay and conditions for staff.
  • A universal service free at the point of use: The changes above can be made quickly. Longer-term, the government should make social care a universal service, paid for through general taxation to ensure high quality social care can be quickly accessed by everyone who needs it, in every part of England, without any variation in cost and qualifying rules.

 

TUC regional secretary Lee Barron said:

When communities in the West Midlands needed them, our social care workers stepped up. Care workers looked after older and disabled people in the midst of a pandemic, often without the right PPE, and often for low wages and no sick pay. 

Now it’s time to fix the broken system. Social care is badly underfunded. Pay and conditions for care workers are dreadful. And families can’t be sure of high-quality, affordable care when a family member needs it.

As we face mass unemployment, ministers should act to unlock the 120,000 existing social care vacancies right now. And they should put investment in social care at the heart of our national recovery plan.

Social care jobs should be decent jobs on fair pay, at the heart of every community in the West Midlands. The TUC’s plan sets out how a full funding settlement for social care would work. Ministers can’t spend another decade hiding from the social care crisis.”