Hft, a national charity that supports adults with learning disabilities, has expressed both its concern and frustration over the lack of funding proposals for social care in the Spring Statement.

Ahead of the Spring Statement, the charity had called Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond to provide an emergency cash injection for the social care to help address the ongoing recruitment crisis in the sector. The charity cited figures from its Sector Pulse Check, which highlighted that 80% of providers claimed the enforced low wage model was the biggest barrier to recruitment. As a result, 63% of providers have witnessed an increase in agency fees as a major financial pressure – a fifty percentage point increase from last year.

Robert Longley-Cook, Chief Executive of Hft, said:

“It is hugely disappointing that, once again, social care has not been granted any additional funding by the Chancellor. The government is right to acknowledge there is a recruitment crisis in social care, and its national recruitment campaign will go some way to address that. However, without additional funding to help us pay a competitive wage, the campaign is simply window dressing. For as long as the sector is subject to an enforced low pay model means, we will be unable to recruit and retain the right candidates, resulting in high staff turnover. 

“As our Sector Pulse Check shows, providers are now being forced to fill rotas with expensive agency staff in the short term, preventing us from investing in the long-term future of our services.

“This is a suboptimal solution for all involved. Providers are being forced to pay more for agency staff, preventing them from investing in our services and hardworking staff who work in them. The vulnerable adults supported by the sector also receive a disruption to the quality and continuity of care that they receive. There are no winners in maintaining this status quo.        

“The government can no longer provide short-term solutions to long-term problems”        

“The government can no longer provide short-term solutions to long-term problems. We are more than 700 days overdue for the government’s planned green paper on the future of social care funding. With 11% of providers warning that any further funding cuts could result in a deterioration of the quality of care they are able to provide, it is vital that the government brings forward sustainable funding solutions as a matter of urgency.”

Since February 2016, Hft has run the It Doesn’t’ Add Up campaign to raise awareness of the funding pressures facing the social care sector.