Leading figures in the care industry have responded to yesterday’s Autumn statement by the Chancellor, Mike Padgham chair of the Independent Care Group said that the Government betrayed millions of vulnerable older people by failing to address the social care crisis in today’s Autumn Statement he said: “Today’s Autumn Statement completely ignored the loud and irresistible pleas of care providers, charities and politicians to address the crisis in social care which is robbing vulnerable adults of the care they need.
“This decision will mean more care home closures, fewer hours of homecare delivered and misery for people who deserve better. This is a missed opportunity and with social care and the NHS both at breaking point, it will be one that will have huge repercussions for the future.
“The call for action was louder and greater than ever before and was coming from all corners and yet it has fallen on deaf ears again. How do we get change? Do we have to stand as MPs to get social care’s case heard?”
The Independent Care Group called on the government to address social care in the Autumn Statement amidst fears that a perfect storm was driving the sector over the edge.
Mr Padgham added: “We currently have four factors creating a perfect storm – ever increasing demand for more and more complex care; greater and greater scrutiny of that care; tighter and tighter budgets to work in and rapidly rising costs – including the rising National Living Wage.
“We have a sector in crisis: more and more people going without care, care homes and domiciliary care agencies folding or on the brink, and greater and greater pressure on the NHS.”
A £2.8bn social care funding gap is predicted by 2019-20 and in domiciliary care alone a £500m funding gap has been identified.
United Kingdom Homecare Association’s Chief Executive, Bridget Warr CBE, said:
“The absence of reference to funding social care services in the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement is exasperating for everyone who supports older and disabled people.
“The amassed evidence from providers, commissioners, sector analysts and colleagues in the health service has presented a consistent picture of a sector under extreme pressure, which should it fail, will let down citizens who rely on state-funded support.
“We urge Government to take immediate action to bring forward funding to maintain the immediate viability of social care services.”
Malcolm Booth, the Chief Executive of the National Federation of Occupational Pensioners, and a founding member of Later Life Ambitions said:
“We are disappointed that the Government has missed another opportunity to show it understands the growing social care crisis and has a plan for solving it.
“Our members view health and social care as the most important issue facing older people over the next 5 to 10 years. For many older people, access to care is already difficult and the situation is only going to get worse.
The longer the funding for social care remains inadequate the more NHS services will feel the impact.
“The Government state that the 2% precept is bringing in additional revenue to meet rising social care costs, however the reality is that this funding is only a drop in the ocean of what is required.
“This is why Later Life Ambitions is again calling on the Government to introduce a funding arrangement that secures decent social care services for all, based on a fair share of the costs between individuals and the state.”
Robert Longley-Cook, Chief Executive of Hft said: “While there may have been a new Chancellor, Hft was bitterly disappointed at the apparent lack of change in the status quo after today’s Autumn Statement.
Despite repeated warnings from regulators and industry bodies of the economic fragility of the sector, Hft, a national charity supporting adults with learning disabilities was shocked to hear that social care did not feature as one of Philip Hammond’s top priorities.
At the forefront of the charities concerns is the rise in the National Living Wage (NLW) from £7.20 to £7.50 from April 2017. While Hft is an ardent supporter of the concept of the NLW, which will see our staff paid more for the excellent work they do, we have also been campaigning on the lack of available funding from local authorities, which continue to commission services at the National Minimum Wage.
Any savings made by this lower-than-expected increase will be swallowed by the other financial pressures currently facing the sector, such as issues relating to sleep-in shifts and pensions auto-enrolment.
Hammond’s much trumpeted cut in Corporation Tax from 20 per cent to 17 per cent is not applicable to charitable organisations such as Hft. Unlike our peers in the commercial sector, any surpluses we make our channelled directly back in to developing future services and continuing to fund our charitable projects such as our friendship agency Luv2MeetU, Personalised Technology and our Family Carer Support Services.
While we welcome the Government’s commitment to simplifying Gift Aid, and in particular improving confidence in digital donations, any amounts that would be fund-raised in this way would do little to address the existential threat we face by inadequate funding from local authorities, which makes up 80% of Hft’s income.
A golden opportunity has been missed by Philip Hammond to address the multiple financial pressures crippling the learning disabilities sector. Hft will continue to raise awareness through our It Doesn’t Add Up campaign, in order to ensure that Theresa May’s “economy that works for everyone” includes the vulnerable adults that we support. I urge concerned members of the public to visit the Hft website and sign our petition now to show their support for increased funding to save the sector.”
Chief Executive of Carers UK, Heléna Herklots said:
“It is deeply disappointing that the Autumn Statement has failed to provide even a mention of the crisis facing social care, let alone any measures to support those who are going without the vital support they need day in day out.
Carers UK’s evidence from carers demonstrates the devastating impact that chronic underfunding of the social care system is having – long waits for carer’s assessments; carers reluctantly turning to A&E because they can’t get access to community care; delayed and inappropriate hospital discharges; and reductions in practical support.
In ignoring the social care crisis the Chancellor not only risks pushing carers to breaking point as they struggle without the support they need to care but jeopardising his own productivity agenda as more and more people are forced to reduce their hours or leave work altogether to provide care for loved ones.
While the rise in the national living wage is welcome, without a rise in the earnings threshold for Carer’s Allowance it will force carers who work part time to reduce their hours or lose the benefit.
It isn’t just families in paid work the Government needs to think about. Millions have given up work to care and half of those caring for 35 hours or more are struggling to make ends meet.
Without measures to address the social care crisis, or improve financial support for those not able to work full time, many carers will feel this Autumn Statement does nothing more to help them.”
Richard Murray, Director of Policy at The King’s Fund, said:
“The absence of new money for health or social care means that the already intense pressures on services will continue to grow.
“The lack of extra money for social care funding, in particular, means we are likely to see an already threadbare safety net stretched even more thinly. This will impact on some of the most vulnerable people in society, and so goes against the government’s commitment to creating a country that works for everyone. While the increase to the national living wage is welcome, it will add to the cost faced by local authorities and social care providers, making an already fragile market even more unstable.
“The government will also need to look again at health funding in future. The planned increases in health spending are not enough to maintain standards of care, meet rising demand and transform services. In particular, the pressures will peak in 2018/19 and 2019/20, when there is almost no planned growth in real-terms NHS funding.”