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Sector reacts: Extra £650m for social care just ‘a sticking plaster’


By Léa Legraien
Reporter
30 October 2018

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The sector has showed disappointment with the budget even in the light of the chancellor’s announcement of extra funding for social care next year. 

Presenting the budget 2018 yesterday in Parliament, Mr Hammond said local authorities will receive an additional £650m funding grant for social care for 2019/20.

In addition, councils will receive the following funding:

  • An extra £45m for the disabled facilities grant for 2018/19.
  • A further £84m for the next five years to expand children’s social care programmes to an additional 20 councils dealing with a high or rising number of children in care.

Mr Hammond also confirmed that the long-awaited green paper on the future of social care will be published ‘shortly’.

‘Another sticking plaster’

Although NHS Confederation chief executive Niall Dickson welcomed the announcement, he said that the funding is ‘yet another sticking plaster’.

He added: ‘Social care remains the Achilles heel – it has been consistently underfunded, neglected and unloved by politicians over many years and the extra funding announced [yesterday] – again welcome – is clearly inadequate.

‘This means we will struggle on for another year.’

According to King’s Fund director of policy Richard Murray, adult social care needs at least an extra £1.5bn a year just to cope with increasing demand.

Echoing Mr Dickson’s comments, Mr Murray said: ‘The social care system cannot continue to get by on last-minute, piecemeal funding announcements.

‘Successive governments have dodged tough decisions on social care and the forthcoming green paper must now ensure social care gets the long-term plan it so desperately needs.’

Falls short of long-term needs

LGA chairman Lord Porter also argued that the funding boost ‘falls short’ of what is needed in the long-term.

He said: ‘Councils were at the front of the queue when austerity started so local services should be at the front of the queue if it is coming to an end.

‘While this funding will ease some of the immediate financial pressure facing councils and our local services, it is clear that this cannot be a one-off.

During his speech, Mr Hammond said that ‘the era of austerity is finally coming to an end’.

However, charity Mencap head of policy and public affairs Dan Scorer believed that the same cannot be said for people with a learning disability and their families.

He said: ‘£650m for social care is a sticking plaster for a system that teeters on the edge of crisis.

‘Much larger sums are needed to prevent more people with a learning disability becoming isolated in their own homes and struggling to meaningfully take part in society.’

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