Hammond announces social care funding

Chancellor Philip Hammond has presented the 2017 Spring Budget, with the announcement of an additional £2 billion to be spent on social care over the next three years.

To help councils to provide high quality social care to more people and help to ease pressure on the NHS, Hammond announced an additional £2 billion of grant funding for adult social care over the next three years, with £1 billion available in 2017/18.

Much of the build up to Hammond’s last Spring Budget, before it becomes the Spring Statement, was focused on increased social care funding to alleviate the crisis currently facing the sector. The Liberal Democrats had called for an extra £4 billion emergency funding in the Budget for the NHS and social care services, calling for a new deal for ‘our NHS and care services’.

Additionally, according to a Local Government Association survey, 78 per cent of MPs said before the address that additional funding should go to councils' social care budgets, saying that the funding gap facing social care is at least £2.6 billion by 2020.

Margaret Willcox, president elect of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS), said: “We welcome this important step towards closing the growing gap in government funding for adult social care. We are keen to build a consensus on a long-term, sustainable solution about how we provide and pay for care for years to come, and we hope the Green Paper helps to achieve that.”

Jonathan Carr-West, chief executive of LGiU, said: “The good news is that the government has listened to the local government sector and made more money available for social care. It's not nearly enough, of course, so the government is right that this is a short term measure and that we need more fundamental reform of care funding and delivery.

“The bad news is that the focus of this additional money makes that reform harder. Social care is not just about freeing up hospital beds, it’s about managing the overall well being of the people who live in a place. That connects with health care but also with housing, keeping people healthy, management of public space and local economies.

“That’s why social care can only be delivered by local bodies not by national agencies. So we need to fund local government to deliver social care but then we need to trust it to spend the money locally across the system in the ways that work best for that area. Micromanagement of how the money is spent will be expensive, ineffective and a step in the wrong direction.”

However, to the disappointment of many local authorities, only £2 billion has been made available over the next three years, alongside £425 million of investment in the NHS, also over three years.