Chancellor, Philip Hammond, announced today that the Spring Budget has given an additional £2bn to social care over the next three years, with £1bn available in 2017/18.
The £1bn available in 2017 was described at the time as a bridge to the Better Care Fund, additional money back loaded towards the end of the parliament. The Chancellor announced a Green Paper will be published later this year on long-term funding for social care. He said the long-term challenges of funding social care require a strategic approach.
Whilst this acknowledgement of the urgent need for social care funding is welcome, it will only be a beneficial use of tax payer’s money should the Green Paper on Adult Social Care deliver the reforms that are necessary to make the system stable.
The UK’s biggest pensioner organisation, the National Pensioners Convention (NPC) described the extra £2bn as a ‘sticking plaster’ on the crisis the social care sector is facing.
As well as this, the Chancellor confirmed a ‘death tax’ will not be implemented. The death tax was a Labour proposal before the 2010 election for a 10 per cent levy on estates to fund social care.
Jeremy Hughes, chief executive at Alzheimer’s Society, said:
“The commitment to tackle social care funding is welcome. But eligibility for funding must be addressed by the Green Paper so people with dementia aren’t impoverished by their condition.”
Chris Ham, chief executive of The King’s Fund, called the additional money “welcome recognition of the huge pressures facing social care”.