Local authorities were granted access to an extra £1bn funding for social care in today’s Spending Review.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak allowed local authorities to increase their core spending power by 4.5% through granting extra flexibility on the Council Tax and Adult Social Care precept and also provided £300m in new grant funding.
The Chancellor’s funding announcement was branded a missed opportunity by social care leaders, however.
Professor Martin Green OBE, CEO of Care England, said the extra £1bn was a “drop in the ocean” in comparison with what the sector needs.
Martin said: “In light of the sector’s contribution during the COVID-19 pandemic, government must support and be responsive to the needs of the sector. Of course £1 billion is welcome, we welcome every penny, but in comparison with the NHS and the challenges that the sector faces, this figure is too little and too late. Unfortunately, on previous occasions when the government gave huge amounts of money to local authorities it did not reach the front line so we have grave concerns about the delivery mechanism.”
Vic Rayner, executive director of the National Care Forum, labelled the Spending Review a “catastrophe for social care”, adding the funding was “completely and wholly inadequate” and a “fundamental step backwards”.
UNISON assistant general secretary Christina McAnea said care workers had been “left high and dry” by the Chancellor, adding the additional £1bn was “nowhere enough to reform social care services”.
“What’s needed now is a proper plan for reform,” Christina said. “A national care service to drive up standards, increase pay and attract much-needed recruits.”
Kathy Roberts, chair of the CPA, said the £1bn fell short of the £7bn recommended by the Health and Social Care Committee and the £6bn forecasted from its own research in May 2020.
Steven Cameron, Pensions Director at Aegon, said the settlement had failed to “address the growing challenge of putting social care funding on a long-term, sustainable basis”.