Care England, has today (March 16) made representations to the Chancellor ahead of the Spring Budget on 23 March.
Professor Martin Green OBE, Chief Executive of Care England, says:
“We are at a pivotal point in determining the future sustainability of the adult social care sector. Concerningly, the Government’s plan for adult social care reform is largely unfunded. The funds that have been allocated to the sector represent a mere drop in the ocean in terms of what is required to aid the Government’s ambitions of tackling long-term issues such as fair funding, workforce pay, long term investment and innovation. The reforms are ultimately aimed at improving and maintaining the quality of life of some of the most vulnerable members of society. This can only be achieved through ensuring independent sector provider sustainability.”
On 7 September 2021, the Government set out its new plan for adult social care reform in England, Build Back Better. This includes a lifetime cap on the amount anyone in England will need to spend on their personal care, alongside a more generous means-test for local authority financial support.
These proposals are funded by the new Health and Care Levy, of which £5.4bn is being invested into adult social care over the next three years. Care England has made clear that the £5.4bn will not be enough to achieve the ambitions set out by the Government. Whilst the NHS will see the tangible benefits resulting from the Levy from the £36bn due to be raised over the next three years, adult social care will only receive £5.4bn.
Of the £5.4bn, £1.7bn is provisioned for Wider System Reform, leaving £3.6bn confirmed at the Spending Review 2021 to implement Charging Reform. Of the £3.6bn, to ensure that local authorities are able to move towards paying a fair cost of care, the Government is provisioning only £162m which will be allocated in 2022 to 2023 to support local authorities as they prepare their markets for reform, of which up to 25% can be retained by local authorities to cover operational costs. A further £600m will be made available in both 2023 to 2024 and 2024 to 2025. Care England holds that the current funding envelope is grossly insufficient to enable the successful implementation of Section 18(3) of the Care Act and will see care homes and home care providers unable to sustain their businesses without additional funding.
Martin Green continues:
“Care England remains committed to helping the Government establish a long-term and sustainable future that will be to the benefit of all citizens and the economy. We would urge the Treasury to take account of these immediate concerns given the pressing nature of the reform implementation. These reforms will define the sector’s future. It is vital to ensure that these significant sums actually get to the front line where care is provided and are not simply absorbed by the wider NHS and adult social care system.”