The chancellor’s Spring Budget, announced on 15 March, is yet another ‘missed opportunity’ for social care according to Care England.
In light of the absence of any announcements in the Budget specifically aimed at the social care sector, Care England chief executive Professor Martin Green OBE said:
“The Autumn Statement announced £7.5 billion for the social care sector over the next two years, aimed at creating an additional 200,000 new care packages, supporting the discharge of people from hospital to ease NHS backlog, whilst also being split across adult and child services. Care England’s recent Fair Cost of Care analysis shows that, even with this funding, the deficit for older person’s residential and nursing home stands at around £2bn per annum. While the £7.5bn represented a step in the right direction, the Spring Budget was an opportunity to reinforce this progress and move towards a sustainable funding settlement for the sector. It was an opportunity that, unfortunately, the Government did not take, with a notable lack of any announcements targeted at the sector. Against the backdrop of a workforce crisis and rising vacancies, the rising cost of living and increasing energy costs, the stabilisation of the adult social care sector should be the Government’s priority in the coming months. The NHS cannot survive in the long term if the social care sector is unsustainable. A political consensus must be forged on how to fund and support our vital sector sustainably over the long term.
“Social care is vital for the future of local people and local economies. It supports some of society’s most vulnerable, often living with lifelong conditions and is a source of employment for millions of hardworking, dedicated people across England. Social care must become a priority for the country. With an ageing population and demand for services to increase, the Government requires a sustainable roadmap for the social care sector that will meet the country’s social needs and support the NHS in reducing waiting lists. Care England will continue to work pragmatically to present solutions which seek to resolve the issues faced by all those within the sector and those who draw on care and support. Investment in the sector is key and will only be achieved with a clear long-term care strategy which is properly funded, and we hope that the forthcoming Implementation Plan, due to be published in Spring, delivers on this.”