Petersfield County Councillor Linda Jones, who is Labour lead member on Cambridgeshire County Council’s Adults committee, writes for us on the challenges facing social care.
Almost £8 billion has been lost from social care budgets since 2010. This has led to a gradual tightening of eligibility criteria to focus only on those in the ‘substantial and critical’ category. Age UK estimated that 1.4 million older people are not getting the care they need; a figure that has increased by 19 per cent in just two years.
Staff are under pressure and feeling under-valued and under-recognised. The sector has a huge 30.8 per cent turnover rate and there are currently 122,000 vacancies. The average wage is just 2% over the UK National Living Wage, with only 10% of staff paid the Real Living Wage in March 2019.
The House of Commons Health and Social Care Select Committee, in a 2020 report, estimated that an immediate £3.9 billion funding boost was needed before 2023/24 to shore up wages and staffing levels, with far more required to reverse the decline in access and prevent market collapse.