Council chiefs warned on Friday that they could be forced to close parks, libraries, swimming pools and public toilets as the rising cost of elderly care squeezes their already thin budgets.
The Local Government Asssociation warned of "dangerous" consequences if Westminster doesn't act to help.
In a letter to all three main party leaders, its chairman Sir Merrick Cockell warned: "For too long we have toyed with adult social care reform and failure to act now may be the failure that tips the system over.
"Nobody, whether from central or local government, providers, the third sector or the public wants that to happen so it is incumbent upon us all to bring about real change.
"This absolutely must include funding and we urge the government to be courageous."
Sir Merrick, the Tory leader of Kensington and Chelsea Council, suggested a cap on the amount people have to pay for care.
Last year an official commission chaired by economist Andrew Dilnot recommended that the state should pick up the cost of care beyond £35,000, at an estimated cost to the public purse of less than £2 billion.
Sir Merrick added: "We recognise that Dilnot comes with a price tag which, in the current economic climate, is challenging.
"But across the political spectrum at the Local Government Association we believe it is a cost worth paying.
"That is why we are working on an offer to the government that will set out what local government can do to make Dilnot affordable, workable and well understood by those who would determine its success at a local level."
Sir Merrick said councils from all parties were united in the call for reform.
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