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Care leaders brand Budget as “missed opportunity”

Commons

While welcoming the £650m additional funding for social care in yesterday’s Budget, care leaders have described it as a missed opportunity to tackle the long-term challenges facing the sector.

The additional funding for 2019-20 was part of a raft of new spending measures announced by Chancellor Philip Hammond (see BREAKING NEWS: Chancellor announces social care funding).

Sam Monaghan, CEO of MHA, said that while welcome, the additional funding was “simply not enough” and was “more of the same short termism and piecemeal measures” that have left the sector at crisis point. He called on the delivery of the Social Care Green Paper to provide long term solutions for social care.

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Vic Rayner, Executive Director of the National Care Forum (NCF), described the announcement as a missed “critical opportunity” to address the immediate needs of the sector.

Tony Hunter, CEO of the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE), said it was important to put the funding to the best possible use.

“Our challenge is to use the money, not merely as a way of shoring up existing services, but as a means of embracing and increasing some of the innovative practice that is going on all over the country to improve people’s lives,” he said.

Cllr Paul Carter, chairman of the County Councils Network and leader of Kent County Council, struck a more positive note saying the funding was “significant and extremely welcome”.

The councillor said the money would help reduce pressures and protect vital public services.

Paul Dossett, Head of Local Government, Grant Thornton UK LLP, added it was welcome that the money was grant funding as opposed to council tax, which would only have widened the current inequality in the system. He said the funding would allow for a year’s relief against rising demand but longer term solutions were required.

Ernst & Young Social Care Lead Helen Sunderland agreed, commenting: “Short term cash injections don’t allow for sustainable service planning, they provide relief.”

Kelvin Summoogum, founder of tech start-up miiCare, said the money should be used to invest in technological solutions to support the sector.

Jill Whittaker, Managing Director of HIT Training and Connect2Care, meanwhile, welcomed the Chancellor’s reduction in the cost of apprenticeship training for non-levy payers with the Government now committing to a contribution of 95% and employers paying the remaining 5%.

Jill added: “We hope that today’s news will mean that SMEs – many of which stopped taking on apprentices when the Apprenticeship Levy was introduced – will come back to apprenticeships as an effective and beneficial way to train their staff and improve their businesses.”

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Lee Peart

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