With the Budget just a few days away, Care England has warned that the social care sector has become more vociferous and that expectations from providers and service users is rising.
Professor Martin Green OBE, chief executive of Care England, said: “Social care funding is in crisis. At a time when the Government is cutting funding to local authorities, the costs of delivering care are increasing and the number of people who need support is rising.
“It is totally irresponsible of the government to raise citizens’ expectations about quality and personalisation and at the same time, refuse to deliver the money needed to provide care. When the care system fails, the NHS will collapse and short-sighted Government policy and poor leadership in the Department of Health, will be to blame.
“Over recent months there has been a gradual turning up of the volume on social care. The Chancellor would be well advised to listen to this as it is not going to fade.”
Meanwhile Tony Stein, chief executive of Healthcare Management Solutions, wants George Osborne to look at VAT and allow care homes to be zero rated.
“The Chancellor has to intervene in resolving the problem that the government created when it introduced the National Living Wage. The care sector, although not unique in being affected, is peculiar in not having the traditional avenue of being able to set prices to cover rising costs open to it.
“There is a pressure on the system and funding needs to be found urgently. I’m hoping that the Chancellor takes the opportunity to look at the VAT treatment of care services. If the government moved the delivery of care home services from an “Exempt status” (so denying operators to recover input tax) to a “zero-rated” status this would allow the recovery of input tax. This would put about 5% directly back to operators to pay for staff cost increases.
“This in turn takes the pressure off local authorities to find the funding and gives them more to spend on increasing the number of clients funded. A win-win.”