Budget did nothing for social care

The Independent Care Group says today’s budget was a further kick in the teeth for the care of the country’s most vulnerable.

The ICG says there was nothing in Chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s speech to tackle the 1.6m people who cannot get the care they need.

ICG Chair Mike Padgham said: “I’ll add an extra ‘E’ to Mr Hunt’s list and that is, ‘Excluded’.

“There was nothing in the budget to tackle the rationing of care, help us to recruit the 165,000 staff needed or support those unpaid carers who are giving up so much to help others.

“It was another opportunity missed. With a rare, £30bn fiscal windfall, the Chancellor had an opportunity to give social care the minimum £7bn a year extra he has previously admitted the sector needs.”

The ICG says more money is needed to pay frontline care staff better, so that the sector can 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,” Mr Padgham added.

“Government after government, of all political colour, have failed to tackle the crisis in the sector. On social care this Government, like all others before it, has failed to fix the roof while the sun was shining.”

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: “Mr Hunt seems to have forgotten that pledge and instead left social care to continue to struggle.”

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.