The care sector has responded to Philip Hammond’s Budget 2018, following the announcement of an additional £650m for social care for 2019/20.
In his Autumn budget the Chancellor said, ‘We will shortly publish our Green Paper on the future of social care, setting out the choices, some of them difficult, for making our social care system sustainable into the future. But I recognise the immediate pressures local authorities face in respect of social care.
‘So today, building on the £240m for social care winter pressures announced earlier this month, I will make available a further £650m of grant funding for English authorities for 2019/20 and an additional £45m for the Disabled Facilities Grant in England in 2018/19.’
Industry leaders have welcomed the Chancellor’s announcement of an extra £650 million, however many believe it is simply not enough and will not address the long-term issues the sector faces:
Richard Murray, Director of Policy at The King’s Fund, said:
“The social care system cannot continue to get by on last-minute, piecemeal funding announcements. Adult social care in England needs at least £1.5 billion more per year simply to cope with demand meaning that the funding announced today, which will also need to cover children’s social care, falls far short. This highlights the need for a long-term plan for how social care will be funded and structured so that it can meet increasing demand. Successive Governments have dodged tough decisions on social care and the forthcoming Green Paper must now ensure social care gets the long-term plan it so desperately needs.
“Two billion pounds for mental health confirms the early signals that this would be a key priority for the forthcoming NHS long-term plan. But years of underfunding have taken their toll and this is no more than a small step on the road to parity of esteem. Mental health services need more than money to meet demand. A chronic shortage of mental health staff means that, despite the new funding, the service won’t improve until the Government and the NHS provide a plan to increase the workforce.”
Nick Sanderson, CEO, Audley Group, comments: “The green paper on social care has been on its way for months. There still is little clarity in this Budget about what it will cover, and importantly what it will do to better link health, housing and social care to finally address some of the causes of the social care crisis. As well as rightfully focusing on children in care, the green paper must consider how social care can address the crisis looming for our growing older population. Without that focus now, the money just allocated to bolster the NHS budget will be a tiny drop in the ocean.”
Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director at Age UK and co-Chair of the Care and Support Alliance said: “Our dominant reaction to today’s Budget announcement is relief, but we are disappointed that the investment in social care wasn’t more and that at £650m (plus £45m for Disabled Facilities Grant), it is somewhere between a third and half of the amount the experts say is needed to fill existing gaps in services.”
Due to lack of funding, next year was shaping up to be truly perilous for the delivery of social care so it is very good news that this extra money has been found, but at £650m it won’t be enough to plug current gaps, let alone bring back the care homes and home care packages we’ve lost over the last decade or so – all at a time when demand has been rising. Unfortunately, despite this additional money the 1.4 million older people with some level of unmet need for care will have to continue to ‘make do’ and those older and disabled people who are lucky enough to be receiving a service are unlikely to see any improvement in 2019.
“This announcement also continues the pattern whereby year on year, governments allow social care to teeter on the brink, only to bail it out with an emergency hand out – just enough to prevent total national collapse but no more. The problem is that this approach gives neither staff nor providers much encouragement to stay and so they continue to drift away, storing up even greater problems for the future.
“Nothing could better demonstrate the need for a bold and ambitious Social Care Green Paper, fit for meeting the challenge of saving social care for this and future generations, with much also resting on the outcome of next year’s Spending Review. “
The independent Care Group’s Chair, Mike Padgham, said: “Despite the Chancellor promising to avoid any Halloween headlines by having his budget today, he has given a nasty shock to the 1.4m people currently living without care.
“The extra £650m to support social care is obviously welcome, but in reality it is just a drop in the ocean compared to what has been pledged for NHS care and to what is needed for social care.
“It goes nowhere near addressing the funding gap on social care, expected to be £3.5bn within seven years and the £7bn that has been cut from social care spending in the past eight years.
“This money, whilst welcome, is not going to address the crisis in social care that is seeing care homes close, homecare providers hand back unviable contracts, extra care providers struggling and, above all, 1.4m people going without the care they need.
“We desperately need to see the long-promised Green Paper, which we hope will set out a proper, long-term solution to the social care crisis.”