BUDGET 2021: Care leaders voice dismay at ‘lost opportunity’  


Care leaders have voiced their dismay after today’s Budget announcement failed to mention social care.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s Budget was described as a “lost opportunity for reform” by Independent Care Group (ICG) chair, Mike Padgham.

“We were looking for an indication that this Government and this Chancellor are serious about the long-term reform of social care, but we have been left wanting yet again,” Mike said.

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While the Chancellor promised billions for Universal Credit and extra business and investment, the ICG head said social care had been “betrayed” and “short-changed” once again.

Warren Kenny, GMB Acting General Secretary, said the Chancellor’s failure to offer an extra penny to key workers was a “national scandal”.

“Once again, workers in critical industries such as social care, aviation, cash and transit were crying out for the specific support and investment that they desperately need,” Warren said.

“Once again, all this Government could offer was platitudes and a failure of leadership.”

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said the Chancellor had merely offered a “quick fix” and had “papered over the cracks” with social care having been underfunded for a decade.

“We heard nothing about the long-term plan to fix social care,” Sir Keir said.

“If this would have been a Labour Budget we would have had the NHS and social care front and central.”

Steven Cameron, Pensions Director at Aegon, said the silence on social funding proposals was “deeply disappointing”.

“The Government needs to urgently set out a fair and sustainable system, ideally with cross party support, detailing what the Government will pay and what individuals will be asked to fund themselves, based on their housing and other wealth. Individuals then need incentivised to plan ahead,” Steven said.

Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director at Age UK and Co-Chair of the Care and Support Alliance said she was “deeply disappointed” the Budget offered no immediate or longer term support for social care.

“Experts have been warning about the sustainability of many smaller care companies for some time and unfortunately the Chancellor spurned this opportunity to give them a helping hand,” Caroline said.

“The result may well be an upsurge in closures over the next few months, putting more stress and strain on older and disabled people and their unpaid carers, who have already endured so much.”

Professor Martin Green OBE, Chief Executive of Care England, said: “A ten year plan akin to that of the NHS backed by £7 billion injection into the adult social care would have been a great help to the sector, a sector which is a big part of the national infrastructure.

“Care England will continue to put forward the sector’s case and remind the Prime Minister of his commitment to reforming the sector.”

Helen Wildbore, Director of the Relatives & Residents Association, said the Budget was “an insult” to older people needing care and their families.

“Following a year of unremitting challenges, with care services stretched to breaking point and staff burnt out, support from the Chancellor was desperately and urgently needed,” Helen said. “Older people and their families deserve better.”

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