Philip Hammond’s budget speech contained no mention of social care, despite figures showing that the number of older and vulnerable adults going without the care they need has shot up to 1.2m.
This follows hot on the heels of the Government’s announcement that the Green Paper looking at the funding of social care will not now be published until next summer.
The Independent Care Group says today’s lack of action completes a nasty double-whammy for older and vulnerable adults.
Chair Mike Padgham said: “Today’s budget once again contained absolutely nothing to tackle the ever-growing crisis in social care, despite the fact that the sector is crumbling.
“Following on as it does from the delay of the Green Paper to next summer, it is a real double-whammy, a kick in the teeth, for older and vulnerable people.
“The extra funding for the NHS is obviously welcome but NHS care needs good social care support, otherwise it will suffer too. Why does social care remain invisible to the Government?
“We have 1.2m people going without the care they need to give them a proper quality of life with dignity, compassion and independence. That is a scandal and I call on the Prime Minister and the Chancellor to visit social care on the front line and see for themselves the pressure it is under.”
Before the Budget, 90 MPs, including senior Tories and former cabinet ministers, wrote to the Prime Minister demanding cross-party action to tackle the social care crisis.
“The warning that social care is in crisis continues to fall on deaf ears,” Mr Padgham added.
Paul Allen, CEO, Vibrance said
“It is very disappointing the Chancellor failed to even mention social care in the Autumn Budget and offer the sector much needed support. The industry faces huge challenges; charities are without the funds to provide the quality care people need, while a lack of available staff means services and workers are being stretched beyond capacity. And with the uncertainty caused by Brexit, this could get worse.
“We need the Chancellor to go back to the drawing board and come back with some real solutions to provide social care organisations, and the sector as a whole, with the finances and capabilities they need to ensure they can continue to care for those in need and avoid a crisis in the industry.”
Niall Dickson, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, which represents organisations across the healthcare system, said:
“This is another missed opportunity and falls well short of what is needed to relieve the massive pressures facing the NHS today.
“Over the years the NHS has required increases of around 4% above inflation to deal with demand and maintain services. What the Government is promising for next year represents around 1.4% plus whatever is allocated to cover the lift in the pay cap.
“Of course the extra money announced is welcome as is the promise of more capital and some more funds for this year. It was better than we expected but it does not begin to take account of the enormous challenges we have to confront over the next few years.
“What is more the Chancellor did not even mention social care – the extra £1 billion for this year and next year was totally inadequate and will leave health and social care unable to meet demand and more importantly thousands of older people without the care and support they need.
“We have consistently argued that the health and care funding challenge will not be addressed until politicians face up to the reality of what confronts us and until there is consensus for the longer term around what as a society we are willing to pay for.”
Richard Murray, Director of Policy for The King’s Fund, said: ‘The additional money for the NHS is a welcome shot in the arm as it struggles to meet rising demand for services. But it is still significantly less than the £4 billion we estimate the NHS needs next year. Even with this additional funding, the service will struggle to meet key targets and provide the investment needed in services such as general practice and mental health.
‘The significant increase in capital spending after several years of capital budgets being raided to cover deficits is good news. But to deliver the £10 billion package promised by the Chancellor, considerable sums of money will need to be raised through NHS land sales and other means to top up the £4 billion of extra government investment.
‘It is encouraging that the government is prepared to fund pay rises for nurses and other key staff on top of this extra funding, as long as agreement can be reached on new contracts.
‘We are disappointed, though, that the Chancellor did not find any extra funding for social care, which faces a £2.5 billion funding gap by 2019/20. While the forthcoming Green Paper offers the prospect of reform, any meaningful change is a long way off and will be of little comfort to the many people who need help now but cannot access it.’
Margaret Willcox, President of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS), said:
“We are extremely disappointed that the Government has not addressed the need for extra funding for adult social care. This means that this winter and throughout next year we will continue to see more older and disabled people not getting the care and support – which they desperately need now.
“A lack of extra funding will also lead to an even greater toll being placed on the 6.5 million family members and other carers. By the end of this financial year, £6 billion will have been cut from councils’ adult social care budgets since 2010 – with need for our services growing all that time.
“The Government has committed to publishing the long-awaited Green Paper on social care next summer, but much more needs to be done to secure extra recurring money to address funding gaps, continuing service pressures and the stability of the care market. This is made more urgent when the National Living Wage will increase and less of the short-term extra funding announced in the spring will be available next year to help nearly two million people who rely on care and support, and whose care needs continue to grow.
“The extra funding for the NHS will not be as effective without extra money for adult social care, which remains in a perilously fragile state. Adult social care needs to be tackled as urgently and at least as equally as the needs of the NHS, in a way which recognises the inter-dependency of these services and encourages a collaborative approach.
“Good social care cannot be achieved without a stable, supported and skilled workforce. While we welcome the rise in the National Living Wage, this needs to be addressed in the funding solution alongside the recruitment, training and retention of staff.
“The Government needs to heed the warnings from a wide range of respected voices by taking immediate steps to bring forward the funding and reforms needed to ensure that older and disabled people, and the rising number of working age adults, can get the care and support they need now and each and every day of their lives.”
United Kingdom Homecare Association’s Chief Executive, Bridget Warr CBE, commented:
“The Budget is a huge disappointment for the social care sector and the older and disabled people whom we support. Once again there is no mention of funding for social care services, and not enough help for health services.
“A Social Care Green Paper, promised in the Budget last spring, has now been delayed until the summer of 2018, and will not, in itself, provide a solution to the current challenges faced by care providers, or the councils which commission the majority of care. The Government must not kick social care into the long grass again.
“Government cannot continue to ignore the evidence from providers, commissioners, sector analysts and health service colleagues on the risks to people.
“With winter bound to add extra demands, we are concerned that homecare services are being pushed closer to the point of collapse by Government’s inactivity. We call for Government to take urgent action to fund social care services adequately and ensure they remain viable.”