£1.5bn is the bare minimum needed, say social care groups

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]September 5, 2019

An extra £1.5bn in social care funding, announced as part of the Government’s Comprehensive Spending Review yesterday (in early August) has been generally welcomed throughout the sector but most organisations have pointed out that it is the bare minimum necessary to prevent the system collapsing.

Care England’s chief executive Professor Martin Green said the money must reach the front line and Sally Warren, director of policy at The King’s Fund, said that, in the context of a one-year settlement, the commitments to extra funding were better news for health and social care services than may have been expected.

However, Alzheimer’s Society chief executive Jeremy Hughes was dismissive of the £1.5bn, saying the money would only stave off the utter collapse of the social care system, neglected by successive governments for so long.

“We’re disappointed that the Government hasn’t done enough to deliver the change so desperately needed by people with dementia and their families,” said Mr Hughes.

Chief Executive of national disability charity Sense, Richard Kramer, said his organisation was delighted to see government promise an extra £1.5 billion for social care, describing it as a much welcome cash injection that plugs the current funding gap and something the sector has been collectively calling for alongside disabled people and their families.

“While the money is a first step on a long road to recovery for the social care sector, it does not fix the broken system itself,” said Mr Kramer.

“Social care ultimately needs a long-term sustainable funding solution that addresses and reforms support needs of working age people with complex disabilities.

“Reforms have been promised by several governments and they’ve been promised again during today’s speech. But once more, only older people were mentioned, without a reference to disabled people – a group that accounts for a third of all social care users and half of the spending. We hope this time the promise won’t be broken again and that any reform takes into consideration disabled people.”

Perhaps most dismissive of all was the response from the think-tank, the Institute of Public Policy Research (IPPR) which made the following points:

  • The social care system has faced large cuts, creating a huge deficit in provision and leaving many without the care they need.
  • The Chancellor gave £1bn new funding. He also agreed to consult on an additional £0.5 billion funded through council tax rises. IPPR has shown this type of funding is regressive and hits the poorest harder.
  • Even then, this amount means little more than kicking the can down the road when urgent system reform is needed. We have waited over 900 days for a social care green paper.
  • – The best approach would be free provision of social care, at the point of need. The Government’s announcement leaves a £10bn short of providing equitable care for all by the end of this parliament.

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Date Published: September 5, 2019