By Max Clarke

The £1 billion social care funding crisis is a pincer movement that could damage services for the disadvantaged and elderly, said the Unite union.

The pincer movement comprised of the estimated £4.5 billion funding gap for the voluntary sector, coupled with the prevailing ideology of outsourcing some NHS services to charities.

Unite, which has 100,000 members in the health service and 60,000 in the not for profit sector, called on the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne to impose a 1p in the £ income tax rise for those earning over £100,000 in next week’s Budget to help close the voluntary sector funding gap.

The King’s Fund said in its report: Social care funding and the NHS: an impending crisis? that local authority social care services face a funding gap of more than £1 billion by 2015, despite the additional funding announced in the 2010 Spending Review.

"This report highlights the pincer movement that will damage social care for disabled children, the elderly and disadvantaged," Unite national officer, Rachael Maskell said.

"Local council funding has been slashed by 27 per cent which is having a very bad knock-on affect on not for profit organisations providing social care, for example, Liverpool City Council has axed its voluntary sector budget by £18 million and there is a possible 38 per cent cut in voluntary sector funding in Nottingham.

"On the other hand, you have the coalition’s current ideology, encapsulated in the Health and Social Care bill, that outsourcing of NHS services is the answer for social care — that’s going to be problematical if the money is not there.

"The coalition has taken £5 billion out the not for profit sector in terms of funding, but only put back about £500 million in the way of transitional funding and the so-called Big Society Bank.

"To reduce this funding gap, George Osborne should put 1p in the £ on income tax for the top earners on £100,000 plus, ring fenced to specifically staunch that funding chasm.

"A big issue for our members is that the infra-structure for agency co-operation is disintegrating, which makes efficient and seamless working between health and social care organisations much more difficult."

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