The Chancellor’s Spring Statement has announced further delays to funding and reform of social care. A three-year Spending Review will now align with the Autumn Budget two years since the government announced its intentions to publish a green paper.
The Voluntary Organisations Disability Group (VODG) is calling on government to rethink and bring forward much needed reform. It says that while the government appears unable or unwilling to progress the green paper, by contrast it is railroading through controversial reforms on mental capacity legislation. The swift passage of the Mental Capacity (Amendment) Bill proves that government can pick up the pace of reform – if it so chooses.
VODG argues that cumulative adult social care cuts since 2010, for example, total £7bn. It also shares the concerns of the Local Government Association that delays to the Spending Review will hinder forward planning within councils, and VODG fears that this will impact on the commissioning and provision of essential care services.
Dr Rhidian Hughes, VODG chief executive, said: “While Brexit is a priority for government – and will have an undoubted impact on social care – it is not an excuse for it to drag its heels over social care. Ministers are effectively leaving a vital national support system in limbo instead of giving it financial resource and strategic direction it urgently needs.”