Social care sector responds to Osborne’s review – more needs to be done

Posted on November 25th, by admin in Caring Times. No Comments

Today George Osborne’s Autumn Statement on the Comprehensive Spending Review was met by mixed reactions from the sector, with the general tenor being “it’s not enough”. We’ll have a full report in the January issue of Caring Times, but here are some key reactions:

Jeremy Hughes, Chief Executive of Alzheimer’s Society: “The Government’s commitment to fund a dementia research institute offers hope and we welcome the recognition that the NHS cannot function effectively without investment in good social care. However, the new money promised today will only go some way to covering the £4.3 billion social care funding gap estimated by 2020. Today must be a first step towards ensuring the vital lifeline of social care for people with dementia.”

Stephen Burke, director of Good Care Guide: “The Chancellor’s spending review has failed to tackle the growing care crisis. Increases of up to 2% in council tax and in the Better Care Fund are completely inadequate to meet the funding gap in care for older and disabled people. They will make the care system even more of a lottery.”

Dr Rhidian Hughes, Voluntary Organisations Disability Group chief executive: “The social care funding settlement is woefully inadequate. The spending review offered Government a chance to put social care funding back on track financially yet this important opportunity has been lost. There is very little in the announcement to be welcomed by providers of voluntary sector disability services.”

Mark Stopard, Head of Product Development, Partnership: “One area of interest was the Chancellors announcement that local authorities would be allowed to increase council tax by up to 2% to cover adult social care costs. While on the surface this may seem like a boon, the introduction of the living wage in April 2016 will see the cost of employing over-25s to provide care service increase by 7% so even with this increase, some local authorities will be out of pocket and struggling more than ever.”

Alan Frew, managing director of home care specialist Community Life Choices: “It’s promising to see the chancellor pledge a further £600m in funding. What he failed to address is how we’re expected to raise standards when local authorities in England spend just one per cent of their annual health budget on tackling these issues.”

Paul Kenny, GMB General Secretary: “Mr Osborne has passed the buck to the whim of local authorities rather than face up the fact that the Government itself has the responsibility to fund the care of the elderly and other vulnerable adults.”

Nigel Edwards, Chief Executive of the Nuffield Trust said: “Despite today’s extra investment in social care, care services in England remain on the brink of collapse – increasing funding for the NHS while leaving local councils short of cash is like painting the front door while the house is on fire.”

Rob Webster, Chief Executive, NHS Confederation: “The task of delivering a £22 billion efficiency programme isn’t any easier but the conditions within which we will do it are certainly clearer… We also need to reflect on whether the proposals today will protect social care in the next five years and whether there will be enough resources available to local authorities to reduce the impact on the NHS.”

Jane Ashcroft, CEO of Anchor: “The proposal to allow local authorities to increase council tax by up to 2% to fund social care is woefully short of what’s needed. It also risks a postcode lottery of care in which the poor and the old face the biggest tax hikes.”

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