Council’s increased support for care providers underlines need for Fair Funding
From April 2022 Shropshire Council will be increasing its payments to companies who provide social care, typically for older people, by six percent, an increase of over £7 million in total over the next year (2022/23).
This is to help offset pressures social care providers face, including the rise in employer’s national insurance to help pay for the Government’s Health and Social Care Levy, and the increase in national living wage by 59p an hour.
Both come into effect in April 2022, pushing up providers’ operating costs, while no money from the Government’s Health and Social Care Levy is expected to come to councils until at least 2025.
The council knows that social care providers play a crucial role in supporting adult social care, a key area for Shropshire due to its ageing population, who will typically need more care and support. The council recognises the challenges of delivering care, and care at home, and currently has the second highest rates of pay to the sector across the West Midlands. After this increase, Shropshire will be paying providers £20.80 per hour of care.
Shropshire Council is next year budgeting to spend 77% of its budget on social care. In the county, 25 per cent of people are aged 65 or over, compared with the national average of 19 per cent. The county’s rural nature and sparse population mean it also costs more to provide care services in the county.
On top of the increase in payments to social providers, the council will continue to support the care sector in a range of other ways, including:-
- Operating an emergency PPE portal for providers for as long as it is needed.
- Providing additional grant funding. Over the last year the council gave more than £9 million extra to support the care market throughout the pandemic.
- Developing further the use of assistive technology, which helps reduce the need for carer time, while increasing independence for those receiving care in their own homes.
- Helping the sector to recruit more staff through initiatives such as care recruitment campaigns.
Simon Jones, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for adult social care and public health, said:-
“Supporting the care market in Shropshire is vitally important. The care sector does a fantastic job in very difficult and testing circumstances, particularly over the last two years.
“We recognise that, even after this increase, things will be tough for providers; but we have very limited scope for action.
“This is another example of how the lack of fair funding for Shropshire hurts services, and does not recognise the extra costs we face as a sparsely populated rural county with a growing older population.
“I will be asking care providers to join us in continuing to lobby the Government on Fair Funding, and to help get the funding we need to run social care in a large sparsely populated rural county like Shropshire with a growing ageing population who will need more care.”