Social care Budget funding ‘another sticking plaster’, health and care bodies say

The additional £650m announced for social care in last month’s Budget has been branded “another sticking plaster’ by three leading health and care organisations.

The joint briefing by the Health Foundation, The King’s Fund and Nuffield Trust followed the Chancellor’s Autumn Budget in October (see BREAKING NEWS: Chancellor announces social care funding boost).

In his Budget, the Chancellor announced a further £240m for social care to help ease winter pressures, on top of £410m in additional funding for local authorities in 2019/20.

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The Budget also included an additional £55m for the disabilities facilities grant in 2018/19, which can be used towards home adaptations for disabled children and adults on low incomes.

The joint briefing stated: “Together, these new announcements area the latest in a series of short-term cash injections, going only a small way to plugging the projected gap of at least £1.5bn in adult social care by 2020/21.”

When looked at in the context of current spending patterns, the bodies said the funding would represent a 2.9% real terms increase next year.

While welcome, the briefing said the funds fell short of the rising cost pressures of 3.7% year on year and offered little scope to address unmet need or improve quality.

In addition, the briefing said local authorities faced continuing pressures to increase fees because of rising staff costs fuelled by the National Living Wage, which will rise from £7.93 currently to £8.21 in April 2019.

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