Hft, the national charity for learning disabilities, is deeply disappointed that the government has chosen to revoke the health and social care tax at a time when many disability care providers are sitting on a precipice.
Hft was responding to the government’s ‘mini budget’ announced today by the Chancellor, Kwasi Kwarteng, which confirmed the government would honor the £13billion funding for health and social care, but did not say how this money would be collected.
The Levy, which is set to raise £5.4bn for welfare reform over the next three years, has offered some light at the end of a very long tunnel after years of chronic underfunding, according to Kirsty Matthews, CEO of Hft.
“While we understand that the cancellation of the levy will provide some relief during this cost of living crisis, rather than a ‘virtuous cycle of growth’ to which the Chancellor refers, the social care sector is currently in a spiral descending. There are more than 2.6 million people living with some form of unmet care need in England, but it is unclear when or how we might receive an injection of funding to create long-term stability and reform.
“While the Government this week allocated an additional £500m Adult Social Care Discharge Fund – to discharge patients from hospital and into care settings – as an adult service provider with learning disabilities, we will see little benefit from the fund as the government is focusing on the social care sector when it comes to elderly care, an approach we have seen previously during the pandemic,” says Mrs Matthews.
There is still little clarity as to what will be done by the government to deal with the current financial pressures facing our sector, including staff salaries and rising energy bills, let alone paying for a sustainable approach to comprehensive adult welfare reform.
“During his election campaign, the Prime Minister said his first priority on social care ‘is to make sure we get money for social care this winter’.
“The importance of this cannot be stressed enough,” says Ms Matthews. “Like our Search Sector Pulse Check revealed earlier this year, due to financial pressures, 43% of social care providers have had to return contracts or close parts of their organization. As things stand, this picture will only get worse.
“We implore the Prime Minister and his government to make an urgent announcement to clarify how they will support our vital sector this winter and in the future beyond short-term emergency measures to support discharge from hospital. We look forward to seeing confirmation to ensure providers can focus on delivering services to the people they support.”