Vic Rayner, Executive Director of the National Care Forum responds to the Chancellor’s spending review.
“The Spending Review is a catastrophe for social care. During the Covid-19 pandemic, the government has consistently talked up the importance of social care, yet once again it has shown that it is unwilling to get behind the provision of services that are the lifeblood of people living independently within the community, or within residential care, or support services.
“The funding outlined in the review is completely and wholly inadequate – it can only lead to reductions in the provision of care. The government should be very aware that it’s decision today to ignore all the advice around minimum funding from the care sector, think tanks, Health and Social Care Select Committee and local government, is a fundamental step backwards. It has offered just £300 million of additional funding, to be split between adult and children’s care services, to a sector decimated by the catastrophic costs of providing care in COVID-19, a pandemic it entered whilst reeling from years of unfulfilled promises of reform and well documented underfunding
“The Chancellor’s statement today must not be the end of this – we urgently demand the government to strengthen their commitment to provide adequate funding both for the short-term spending review period and to urgently address reform.
“Millions of people are affected by the provision of social care, those who receive it, informal carers who rely on it, the 1.6 million people who work in it, local and national businesses who rely on the spending power of its workers, and the NHS whose primary and secondary care services are intricately woven within it. If that doesn’t feel like something that should be valued in a spending review purporting to be about what the people want, then I am at a loss to work out what is.
The small increase in the national living wage comes nowhere near the level of recognition we need for care workers – these are the same people that the government has clapped and praised and yet when the moment comes to recognise those staff, and help employers to reward those staff, the silence is resounding.