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Budget 2021: adult social care sector “left in the cold”

The Government has failed to address the adult social care crisis in this year’s fiscal Budget, campaigners have warned.

The report, published by Care England and the Independent Care Group, comes as the Chancellor pledged to increase funding by almost £5 billion over the next three years.

If you missed the key headlines, here’s what you need to know

How will Budget 2021 impact adult social care?

According to the Chancellor Rishi Sunak, councils in England will receive £4.8 billion in new grant funding over the next three years to pay for adult social care services. The Government said the move represents the “largest annual increase” in local government funding in more than a decade.

The new Health and Social Care Levy, meanwhile, is expected to raise around £13 billion per year for spending on adult social care. The cash will be used to end “unpredictable costs” for people in care by introducing a cap of £86,000 for personal care costs and expanding the means-tested support to people with less than £100,000 in relevant assets.

Earlier this month, the Department of Health and Social Care also announced £162.5 million of new funding to help recruit and retain “tens of thousands of additional carers”. Local authorities will be able to access the fund – available until the end of March 2022 – to pay for overtime and training.

Adult social care sector “left in the cold”

Despite the measures, Care England, the largest representative body for independent providers of adult social care, said the sector has been “left in the cold”.

“Unfortunately, there will be serious and far reaching consequences,” said Chief Executive Professor Martin Green, reacting to the Budget announcement.

“Care England has offered a plethora of constructive solutions as to how the Government could alleviate this crisis situation, but we have been left out in the cold; winter is going to be very, very tough without a robust social care sector to support the NHS”.

The Independent Care Group, meanwhile, warned that an “opportunity has been missed” to fix adult social care.

Chairman Mike Padgham said: “There are good things in the Budget – the minimum wage, help for the low paid and incentives to industry – but nothing for care. What money has been announced for social care today and in recent weeks simply won’t get the sector back on an even keel.”

Gavin Terry, head of policy at the Alzheimer’s Society, added that the funding represents a real-terms spending cut to adult social care.

“While some additional local funding has been announced, it’s nowhere near enough to prop up social care until 2023. This will only lead to the increased rationing of care, which is already spread dangerously thin,” he said.

Previous estimates suggest that it will cost upwards of £14.4 billion to meet future demand and improve access to adult social care.

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