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Care Managers Show

27 - 28 June 2024 NEC, BIRMINGHAM

07 Mar 2024

Hot Take: Still the forgotten service

Hot Take: Still the forgotten service
Caring Times editor-in-chief Lee Peart says the chancellor’s snubbing of social care in the Spring Budget is a sad indictment of short-termist politics.

Another Budget, another snub for social care. World-weary care leaders were understandably dismayed to hear the sector had been left in the cold yet again by the government in this month’s Spring Budget.

The writing had been on the wall ahead of the statement, amidst growing rumours the government would target short-term tax cuts at the expense of long-term investment in care in a bid to curry favour with voters ahead of the general election. Rumours have begun to swirl they could favour going to the polls as soon as May.

The sector’s worst fears were confirmed when the chancellor announced a 2p cut in National Insurance and a £3.4 billion fully funded NHS productivity plan focused on digital transformation, but nothing for social care.

As a politically sensitive problem requiring a long-term solution, social care is always destined to come off worse in a short-term electoral cycle led by political expediency. It therefore came as no surprise that social care was snubbed again as we edge closer to the polls.

Lack of content on social care in the manifestos of the main parties also bodes ill in the short to medium term, whoever is elected.

Of course, Jeremy Hunt should have known better. In his previous life, as chair of the Health and Social Care Committee in October 2020, he said “the government must use the spending review to raise the annual adult social care budget by £7 billion by the end of the parliament as the starting point for a wider series of reforms."

Hunt went on to say: “To address wider issues the sector needs a 10-year plan and a people plan just like the NHS. Without such a plan, words about parity of esteem will be hollow. We owe it to both the staff and families devastated by loss to make this a moment of real change.”

Sadly, with his hands on the levers of power, Hunt’s words have been just as “hollow” as the leaders he previously admonished – and the vulnerable people who depend on a healthy and well-functioning social care service will be the ones to suffer.




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