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Is the Chancellor’s £2bn Social care cash injection, simply a gesture devoid of logic?

By Rob Muddiman on 09 Mar 2017

Chancellor Philip Hammond has pledged a £2bn funding into the current crumbling social care system, across the next three years. The Chancellor said that the cash injection will allow local authorities to ‘act now’, with £1 billion being available between 2017 and 2018, but will it truly have a long-term impact?  The thought process is to enable elderly people to be better supported living at home rather than months on end in a hospital. Any additional funding is welcome in the precarious state of adult social care system, but it falls short of a long-term solution. The money alone is not enough to save social care from collapse and is much less than needed. Experts have all intimated they expected a higher budget due to the estimates presented to the Government and aligns with dramatic warnings from charities, health organisations and the care regulator, that England’s social care system is reaching “a tipping point” after years of budget cuts.

The Chancellor did announce that a green paper on social care will be released later this year, but will it simply prolong the decades of dithering on how to possibly fund social care? There have been several years of continued reviews and commissions, when there is a looming social care crisis in the UK as a direct consequence of an ageing population which further exacerbates the NHS crisis. It would be appreciated to see some firm proposals and timescales for proper review of funding for care costs.

Another point of contention, is that the Chancellor focused solely on older people, overlooking how many disabled people rely on social care services.

It’s cautiously welcome but is it sustainable? Pressing questions lurking in many minds are where has this £2 billion come from, and precisely how will it be allocated?

It would be welcomed to see some firm proposals and timescales for proper review of funding for care costs, once the green paper is released.