Providers have accused the Government of tinkering with the edges rather than tackling the crisis in the care of older and vulnerable people.
The Government has announced the continuation of the Workforce Development Fund, which helps care providers with the cost of training their staff.
At the same time, it has begun consultation into the distribution of funding for adult social care charging reforms, set to come in from October 2023.
The care provider organisation, The Independent Care Group (ICG), says both measures are valuable but are failing to address the real issues facing the social care sector.
ICG Chair Mike Padgham said:
“Training is vital for the social care sector as we look to develop and retain a strong workforce and the charging reforms are overdue and need to be addressed.
“But neither of these measures will tackle the crisis facing social care today. The real issues at the moment are the dire underfunding of care, which is seeing providers leave the sector and the critical staffing shortages.
“Prior to Covid-19 there were around 120,000 vacancies but Skills for Care recently reported that the figure had grown by 55,000 in the past year.
“What we need to see are urgent measures to get more of the Health and Social Care Levy fund to social care so that we can properly fund the sector and provide a realistic and fair wage to our staff so that we can encourage more to join the sector and ease the shortages.
“Even though Care Minister Gillian Keegan is saying the biggest part of the £5.4bn earmarked for social care from the fund is going to the workforce, the reality is that some £2.2bn will go towards charging reform, £1.36bn on fair cost of care measures and just £500m on the workforce.
“That isn’t enough and if the Government is serious about making a difference to social care, its share of funding from the levy has to be looked at again and quickly.”