This week Phillip Hammond announced the 2018 Budget. Within the budget was an extra £650m for social care for 2019/20, available to local authorities to support people living with long term disabilities and older people. From this, the Budget 2018 report states that £240m of the allowance is earmarked for adult services, with the remainder free to be spent by councils on children’s care services.
News of the extra budget has been met by a mixed reaction by the press and leading figures in the social care sector. David Walker of The Guardian labelled the Budget as ‘a missed opportunity to save public services’, and The Times described the extra money for social care ‘not as generous as it sounds’.
Alongside the news that the Living Wage is set to increase from April 2019, Bridget Warr, Chief Executive of the United Kingdom Homecare Association, commented on the changes to the Budget.
“We are pleased that care staff will be better rewarded – their work should attract a much higher payment. However, where homecare is commissioned by the state, meeting the increased wage-related costs will absorb a significant part of next year’s £650 million “extra” grant funding for councils to spend on social care.
“We believe the money will give providers little scope to improve the terms and conditions of skilled and dedicated care staff and help move them towards the Real Living Wage, nor meet the needs of the estimated 1.4 million people with care needs currently being denied support.”
Glen Garrod, president of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS), also issued a response to the Budget.
“The announced funding of £650 million for social care is in fact a core of £410 million which will need to be negotiated in local Councils between children and adult services – both of which are hard pressed.
“Whilst this additional funding is indeed positive, it is both inadequate and temporary. There is also £240m in 2019/20 to continue the winter pressures funding that supports the NHS.”