Why Social Care Matters And Why The Budget/ CSR Is Such A Missed Opportunity
08 November 2021
We care. We are Social Care. We offer support to millions of citizens to enable independent and fulfilling lives.
Social care matters. It matters to the millions of people who use it now every day; it matters to the 1.52 million strong workforce supporting people every day; it matters to over 10 million unpaid carers; and it matters to the 18,200 organisations providing it.
It matters to the NHS who are facing huge pressures because without social care, people have to remain in hospital, even though their acute healthcare needs have been met, preventing others from gaining access to vital healthcare.
It matters to all the people and their families who are struggling at home and are in need of care and support to help them continue to live safely and well.
It matters to people with a learning disability and/or autism who rely on the care and support that every day the staff, working in large and small providers alike, deliver. It allows them to have choice and control in their lives, to live their best life possible and to know that they will be kept safe from harm.
The Budget and Spending Review delivered by the Chancellor was a real missed opportunity for social care and offered nothing new for the sector.
The Budget was silent on immediate support for the social care workforce pressures being experienced right now, affecting people and the NHS every day and silent on how the very welcome increase in the national living wage is going to be funded for the social care workforce. Let’s remember that the majority of social care is commissioned and paid for by the state and the rate social care employers can pay is determined by the funding their local authorities can afford to provide. So unless the state pays more, social care employers will struggle to pay the increase in the national living wage and the national insurance increase due next year.
The Spending Review was silent on calls to re-apportion the Health & Care Levy to properly fund social care reform and silent on the economic contribution of £50.4bn that the sector already makes to the economy. It failed to recognise that social care is a large and growing sector, which employs more people now than the NHS and will employ many more over the next 10 years. It does not help us explain to our workforce why they are paying for a Health & Care Levy that will not benefit social care very much or very soon.
It is time for change – the government must be ambitious for social care and it must invest properly in social care now and in the longer term. For a start, the government must support the social care workforce now with a retention bonus which is not taxed and not subject to Universal Credit rules – other countries in the UK have done this.
Working in social care is incredibly rewarding – our workforce help people to live their best lives every day, making a difference to families and communities across the country. Our workforce is made up of amazing people with a huge level of skill, commitment, passion and experience. Social care providers need help to pay them at a rate which recognises those skills, experience and contribution. Our social care workforce is undervalued and underpaid, and this must end. Employers alone cannot do this – we need action and support from the government.
Signed by Professor Martin Green OBE
Co-signed by all members of the Care Provider Alliance