CIPFA raises concerns about the impact of social care proposals on public finances


By Mandy Bretherton, CIPFA Technical Manager – Local Government Finance

The Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) has welcomed the government's social care white paper and ‘progress report on funding’, published in July 2012. However, CIPFA is concerned about the lack of any commitments on the funding of the changes and their potential consequent impact on the public finances.

Included amongst the proposals is government support for the principle of financial protection for service users through capped costs. Without further details about the level of this protection, and the funding source, local authorities will be concerned that a further burden may fall on their budgets.

The government is also proposing the introduction of a minimum eligibility threshold for care that councils must provide to elderly and disabled people. With an ageing population, the introduction of a statutory minimum could again increase the costs to councils.

Ian Carruthers, CIPFA's Policy and Technical Director, commented:

"The aim of the proposals published today to provide increased certainty about adult social care and support in our communities is sensible.

However, in a time of significant cuts to funding, the introduction of new capping arrangements as well as a minimum eligibility threshold, without compensating government support, is likely to make balancing local authority budgets even  more challenging."