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Friday, 24 February 2017

Social care sector in England reportedly in line for Budget funding boost

Written by Arj Singh

The under-pressure social care sector in England is reportedly in line for a funding boost in Chancellor Philip Hammond's Budget next month.

According to the Health Service Journal (HSJ), additional "stabilisation" money will be overseen by the Care Quality Commission (CQC), which regulates the sector in England.

It comes after council chiefs warned that social care services would still be cut despite ministers' confirmation that the sector would get £900 million extra in the local government finance settlement for 2017/18.

The measures allow local authorities to hike council tax by 6% over the next two years, raising £652 million to head off a funding shortfall predicted to hit £2.6 billion by 2020.

A further £240 million for social care will come from a new Government support grant, funded with money taken from the new homes bonus scheme.

But the Local Government Association (LGA) said this week that the extra council tax income "will not bring in anywhere near enough money to prevent the need for continued cutbacks to local services, including social care".

When the measures were announced before Christmas, the Government also made clear they would analyse the case for a more long-term solution for the embattled sector, and according to HSJ this will include extra money overseen by the CQC.

Responding to the report, a Government spokesman said: "We are committed to maintaining a sustainable social care sector and continue to keep it under review.

"We are already giving local authorities access to £7.6 billion of new money for adult social care.

"This Government has gone further to integrate health and social care than any other before it.

"But this is not solely about money, which is why we are working to find a long-term, sustainable solution which helps local authorities learn from each other to raise standards across the whole system."

Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2017, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) Laura Lean / PA Wire.