Coronavirus 'not recognised' in Budget, fumes Scarborough-based care group chairman

Care providers are dismayed after there was merely a promise of action in “the next few months” in yesterday’s Budget to ease the crisis in the care of older and vulnerable adults.

Thursday, 12th March 2020, 12:03 pm
Mike Padgham

While welcoming some measures in the budget, the Independent Care Group (ICG) says the Government has failed to get social care “done”.

They had hoped to see Chancellor Rishi Sunak unveil measures to help social care, especially as the sector looks likely to be hit hard by coronavirus.

They argue that coronavirus is demonstrating the need for social care and NHS healthcare to work together and be funded equally.

The ICG says the Government now needs to press on with proposed cross-party talks and include providers in those talks, to hear the ideas they have for ending the social care crisis.

The Group’s Chairman, Mike Padgham, said: “There was a lot to welcome in the budget - extra funding for the NHS, support for small businesses and a lot to help the economy during the coronavirus outbreak.

“But this was also, an opportunity missed by the Chancellor and the Government to begin tackling the ongoing crisis in social care.

"Some 1.5m people aren’t getting the care they need and we have been promised measures now for years, but nothing is changing.

“There is little doubt that coronavirus is going to hit us hard and will exacerbate problems already being felt in the sector, but there was no recognition of that today.

"Support for NHS services is, without doubt, helpful, but without corresponding action to help social care, it will be worthless. It is worth remembering that there are 410,000 people in residential care, almost three times the number of people in hospital beds.

“To be able to cope with coronavirus, support for the NHS has to be matched by support for social care – an argument we have been making for years.

“Sadly, in only promising to tackle social care “in the next few months”, the Government is failing in its pledge to tackle this crisis and get it done.”

The group says the Government must now press on swiftly with proposed cross-party talks on social care.

“These talks cannot begin soon enough.

"We very much hope that care providers will be included in those talks as we are at the sharp end of care delivery and have many ideas and suggestions as to how the crisis can be tackled,” Mr Padgham added.

He has warned that the extra £1.5bn already pledged by the Government for social care won’t even touch the sides in terms of solving the crisis as it will be swallowed up by providers having to meet the increase in the National Minimum Wage.

He argues that the sector needs a proper pledge of extra money, funded by an increase in taxation or National Insurance.