The Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, has been urged to use his forthcoming budget to support the social care sector with sufficient funding “before it’s too late”.
Care England, the largest representative body of independent adult social care providers, said the sector is “desperate” for the government to act on its manifesto commitment to put forward a long-term reform package.
Professor Martin Green OBE, chief executive of Care England, said: “COVID-19 has created a new reality for both the country and the adult social care sector. It is therefore right and proper that the Chancellor’s forthcoming Budget recognises the support which the adult social care sector needs in both the short, medium and longer term. It is abundantly clear that now is the time for long term reform, no more sticking plasters.
“The government should see those funds which it allocates to the sector as an investment in critical national infrastructure. We estimate that the sector’s role in the UK economy is set to grow both as a consequence of an ageing population and in the short term, owing to rising unemployment in other parts of the economy.”
Care England has urged the Chancellor to recognise the changing cost of running a care business as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic; the intervention the Treasury can make in the sphere of insurance to assist the adult social care sector; and the existing and potential role which the adult social care sector can continue play as a valuable employer in the UK’s job market.
It has also called for a £7 billion injection into the adult social care sector, in line with the Health and Social Care Committee’s request.
Green added: “We are desperate for the Government to act upon its manifesto commitment to adult social care before it is too late. Local Authorities have in recent weeks posited fee increases of only 0.9% in some parts of the country whilst others have suggested no fee increase at all for care homes with nursing.
“Such pitiful fee increases which do not fully account for increases in the National Living Wage let alone care providers’ costs which have risen by as much as 10% during the pandemic, leaves the sector and those who rely on it in a very precarious situation.”
The government is set to publish its 2021 Budget on March 3, 2021.