CAMPAIGNERS are calling on the Chancellor to spend some of a £30bn windfall on social care in next week’s budget.
Analysts say Jeremy Hunt will have £30bn extra thanks to higher-than-expected tax receipts when he announces the Budget on Wednesday.
The Independent Care Group (ICG) says at least some of that money should be spent on easing the crisis in the care of the country’s oldest and most vulnerable.
ICG Chair Mike Padgham said:
“If there is unexpected money in the public finances then at least some of it should go to adult social care to ease the situation where some 1.6m people can’t get the care they need.
“For a start it should go to the frontline to properly pay staff and to tackle the 165,000 staff vacancies in the sector.
“Care and nursing homes and homecare providers are struggling and closing and more and more people are going to end up going without the care they need.
“I know there will be many calls on the chancellor to direct this money to one sector or another – but the case for helping social care is a very strong one as we are talking about the welfare and quality of life of our oldest and most vulnerable.”
In the past, when he was Chair of the Health and Social Care Committee, Mr Hunt said social care needed at least an extra £7bn a year “just to stand still”.
Mr Padgham added: “It is time for Jeremy Hunt to make good on his own suggestion that social care needs more money. Would this not be a good starting point to get urgently-needed funding to the frontline of social care and make a real difference to a sector that provides so much help and support.
“It would be a good starting point for the long-overdue reform that the social care sector is crying out for.”
Last Autumn, the ICG published its Five Pillars of Social Care Reform document, setting out what it believes are the actions required to save the sector.
The five pillars are:
• Ring fence a percentage of GDP to be spent on providing social care to those who already receive it and the 1.6m who can’t get it
• Create a unified National Care Service, incorporating health and social care
• Set a National Minimum Wage per hour for care staff on a par with NHS
• Set up an urgent social care task force to oversee reform
• Fix ‘fair price for care’ tariffs for things like care beds and homecare visits.