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Not a budget for social care, care leaders complain

Social care leaders have criticised chancellor Rishi Sunak for failing to budget for social care.

In his 2021 budget, the chancellor announced additional funding for COVID vaccination and testing, domestic violence and mental health, as well as more funding for people affected by 1960s Thalidomide scandal.

However, care leaders have slammed the budget for forgetting social care. Chief Executive of the National Care Forum Vic Rayner said: “All ring-fenced emergency funding for COVID-19 come to a grinding halt on the 31March. Yet none of the costs associated with providing care in a COVID-19 world disappear. Urgent action is required to address these short-term financial holes in the budget.”

She added that: “Government must immediately outline the detailed timescale for the full-scale reform of social care.”

Business owners of larger homes will also take stock of plans to raise corporation tax on company profits from 19 to 25 per cent from April 2023. Only those companies with profits of less than £50,000 will remain unaffected.

However, some relief is offered by the extended three-month business rates holiday in England.

In terms of COVID relief, the furlough scheme has been extended until September, with Government paying at least 80 per cent of employees’ wages for hours they cannot work.

Other key points for employers:

  • Minimum wage to increase to £8.91 an hour from April
  • No changes to rates of income tax, national insurance or VAT
  • Personal income tax allowance to be frozen at £12,570 from April 2022 to 2026
  • Higher rate income tax threshold to be frozen at £50,270 from 2022 to 2026

For staff on low incomes, the headlines are:

  • £20 weekly uplift in Universal Credit worth £1,000 a year to be extended for another six months
  • Working Tax Credit claimants will get £500 one-off payment
  •  

Commenting, Professor Martin Green OBE, chief executive of Care England, said: “The Budget failed to recognise the role which the adult social care sector plays as a valuable employer, comparable to the size of the NHS, in the UK’s job market.  Neither did it counterbalance the desperate need for an insurance strategy for the sector.”

The Independent Care Group (ICG) was also disappointed that the chancellor did not increase local authority funding or zero-rate social care for VAT.

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