THE recent Emergency Statement offers absolutely no reassurance or support for the beleaguered social care sector.
This is according to Teresa Parker, interim Chief Care and Support Officer at national learning disability charity Hft, who adds that although the Chancellor made a renewed commitment to scrap the Health and Care Levy.
“We are still in the dark about where, when or how our sector will receive the funding to pay for the long-awaited reform promised by the Government.
“This financial uncertainty is compounded by eye-watering rising costs coming over the course of this year. Hft’s residential and day services will see a 218% rise in its gas prices and a 68% rise in energy bills while there is also the issue of the increases in the National Living Wage to be funded in just a few short weeks.
“Without seeing a correlating uplift in Government support or Local Authority fees, care providers will have to find a way to shoulder the cost. With Hft’s Sector Pulse Check research highlighting that 43% of providers had to cease part of their offering or hand back care contracts due to financial pressures in 2021, we are highly concerned that the current circumstances will force more of this ‘last resort’ action.
“Despite the Government wanting to find more savings, we cannot emphasise enough that there is simply no meaningful ‘fat’ to trim from care budgets without the impact ultimately being felt by those who rely on support.
“If the Government is truly considering the most vulnerable in society, the medium-term fiscal statement, due at the end of the month, must include financial measures to support social care, and people with a learning disability, now and in the long-term.”