Spring Budget hands social care extra £2bn

Chancellor Philip Hammond’s Spring Budget has given an additional £2bn to social care. This will take place over the next three years, with £1bn available in 2017/18.

The £1bn available in 2017 was described as a bridge to the Better Care Fund, additional money back loaded towards the end of the parliament.

The Chancellor told the packed house, the long-term challenges of funding social care require a strategic approach. He also announced a Green Paper will be published later this year on long-term funding for social care.

The LGA (The Local Government Association) has said councils with responsibility for social care had been facing a funding gap of £2.6bn by 2020.

Martin Green, chief executive for Care England, a representative body for independent care providers was in attendance. He said: “The Chancellor’s Spring Budget has quite rightly acknowledged the precarious state of adult social care.

“The £2bn additional funding over three years for adult social care is certainly welcome. This will only be an efficient use of tax payers money should the Green Paper on Adult Social Care deliver. The reforms, spoken about, are necessary to put the system on a stable footing”.

The Chancellor began his Budget speech by referencing the financial crash. He was heard to be telling MPs almost 10 years since the crash “too many families are feeling the squeeze”.

And the financial squeeze has been felt by many, after some £5bn in cuts to adult social care budgets were made since 2010 by Conservative Governments.

Vic Raynor, executive director of the National Care Forum said: “We have very strong links in the Budget. These links  aim to increases funding, to reduce delayed discharge of older people will be of great concern. The Budget statement appearing not to recognise the much broader social care responsibilities of authorities towards people with learning disabilities, and indeed to prevention.”

’Self-funders will face rising care home bills’

“Local councils will struggle to meet rising demands and self-funders will face rising care home bills. No other part of the health service is funded by individuals and their families, rather than by society as a whole. It’s time for a tax-funded social care system that’s fair. A system that shares the cost and risk across everyone and gives dignity to those who need looking after in their later years.”

Jeremy Hughes, chief executive at Alzheimer’s Society, said: “The commitment to tackle social care funding is welcome. But eligibility for funding must be addressed by the Green Paper so people with dementia aren’t impoverished by their condition.”

‘Government has woken up’

Dr Rhidian Hughes chief executive of the Voluntary Organisations Disability Group (VODG) said: “Government has woken up. There is a care crisis facing the country.

“But let us be under no illusion that huge issues continue to face people who rely on social care services. Unmet need is rising, as a result of fewer and fewer people being eligible for services, while some commissioners are also failing to meet statutory duties under the Care Act.”

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