Chancellor Philip Hammond is facing a backlash from senior Conservative party members by failing to address growing concerns regarding extra funding for social care.
Attempting to hold off a winter NHS meltdown, the Chancellor handed out a £35m bailout with extra £1.6bn scheduled for 2018. However, experts have said that the funding is around half of what is actually needed to keep services running smoothly.
“It is extremely important that the two words ‘social care’ didn’t pass the Chancellor’s lips on budget day,” said former Conservative health secretary and current chair of the NHS Confederation, Stephen Dorrell.
“Having relieved short-term pressure, what we are now committed to is a set of budget numbers that, by the Chancellor’s own implicit admission, will lead to a rebuilding of the pressure that he recognised in the spring was unsustainable.
“We know that, looking at the sector as a whole, no one thinks this is sustainable in anything other than the short term, and the short term is running out again. Will this [money in the budget] reverse the trends on waiting times? Clearly it doesn’t. The level of demand continues to grow. That can only lead to added demand going unmet.”
Discussing the budget announcement, Izzi Seccombe, Chair of the Local Government Association’s Community Wellbeing Board said: “The Government needs to put this right in the local government finance settlement or else risk failing the ambition to support people’s independence and wellbeing with quality care and support.”
“If Government wants to reduce the pressures on the health service and keep people out of hospital in the first place, then it needs to tackle the chronic underfunding of care and support services in the community, which are at a tipping point.”
A Government spokesman said: “We are committed to publishing a green paper on the future of social care – this will include proposals to place a limit on the care costs individuals face. Details will be set out when it is published.”