The government’s social care plans have been met with a mixed reception following yesterday’s Spending Round announcement by Chancellor Sajid Javid.
Javid pledged that £1.5 billion would be provided for local councils in a bid to help “stabilise the system”, including a 2% council tax precept used to raise £5 million.
Professor Martin Green OBE, chief executive of Care England, said: “If the Chancellor had neglected social care in his Comprehensive Spending Review it would have morphed into an incomprehensive spending review as it is essential to set the books straight for social care.
“This money is extremely welcome, but it must reach the front line.”
Care England has also said it will seek to work with the Treasury to ensure that it is delivered to front line care services.
Martin continued: “In an integrated health and social care system which the Government aspires to it is right that social care is allocated a greater share of the joint resources.
“Our latest research demonstrates that some 30 councils are paying providers less than £500 per week for residential care. Such dismally low fee levels barely allow many providers to fulfill their minimum statutory obligations, let alone invest the necessary resources to ensure the longer-term stability of their organisations.
“Thus, our representations to the Treasury made clear that low levels of funding are one key component of why many providers are currently being forced to close their services”.
Julie Ogley, the president of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS), said it was a “positive first step” that local authorities and care providers at least had clarity for the next year.
“It is not as much as we and others have set out is needed, and we will want to understand the detail including how this fits with other funding for local government and the NHS.
Meanwhile, Sally Warren, director of policy at The King’s Fund charity, said the money for adult social care “will only just meet what most in the sector said would be the bare minimum in 2020/21 to keep to system going”.
“It’s enough to meet demographic demand pressures, but it’s not going to be enough to increase quality, meet unmet needs, or give much stability to providers and the hugely under-valued social care workforce,” she added.
Cllr David Williams, chairman-elect of the County Councils Network and leader of Hertfordshire County Council, welcomed the news as “hugely significant and very welcome”, however, VODG chief executive, Dr Rhidian Hughes, said the funding was “no more than a small step forward”.
Harry Quilter-Pinner, IPPR Senior Research Fellow, labelled the Chancellor’s announcement as “lots of bluster and no real action”.
“Only a bold commitment to free personal care in order to ensure everyone gets the care they need without having to sell their homes will finally resolve the care crisis,” he said.