Care homes say extra £2bn from budget must go to frontline services
Concern that chancellor’s funding bonus for social care in England may not be passed on by local authorities
The care home industry has called on the government to ensure that £2bn of funding earmarked for social care makes its way to frontline services rather than getting stuck within local authorities.
Philip Hammond, the chancellor, announced in the budget that an extra £2bn of funding will be granted to social care in England over the next three years.
However, senior figures in the care home industry claim that previous attempts to pump money into social care have failed and are concerned the same will happen again.Last year councils were given the power to increase council tax through a precept if the extra funds went to social care providers. However, industry sources claim that while more than 90% of councils did increase council tax, only half passed on the funds.
The boss of Four Seasons Health Care, the biggest care home group in the UK, said the social care system was at a “tipping point”.
Tim Hammond, the chief executive of Four Seasons, said: “It’s good news that the chancellor has committed additional funding to ease pressures on a social care system that is at tipping point, with £1bn to be available in 2017-18, allowing local authorities to act now to commission care packages. We look forward to this being factored into discussions with commissioners [such as local authorities].
“It is important that any additional funding gets through to frontline care as intended and so it remains essential also that councils should use the powers they have been given by government to raise the council tax precept to its maximum amount in order to provide funding for care. This was a main conclusion of the communities and local government committee’s pre-budget report of their inquiry into social care.”
Martin Green, the chief executive of Care England, which represents care providers across the country, said the government needed to overhaul the social care system for adults. Hammond said that the government would produce a discussion paper later this year that looked into how to fund social care in the future.
“The chancellor’s spring budget has quite rightly acknowledged the precarious state of adult social care,” Green said.
“Whilst the £2bn additional funding over three years for adult social care is welcome, it will only be an efficient use of taxpayers’ money should the green paper on adult social care deliver the reforms that are necessary to put the system on a stable footing.”
Before the budget, Green accused the government of abdicating responsibility for social care to local authorities in an interview with the Guardian.
“I think it owes more to the protection of vulnerable politicians than it does to the protection of vulnerable adults,” he said.
“My view is that if you ask me who is to blame, it is the government. The government should be delivering a very clear vision for what social care is, they should be giving clear expectations to citizens about what they should expect from the system and what they should expect to pay for and none of that is happening.”
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Care homes say extra £2bn from budget must go to frontline services - 12 Mar 2017
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