National charity Hft, who support adults with learning disabilities, have blasted chancellor of the exchequer Philip Hammond over the lack of funding proposals or solutions to the financial issues faced in the social care sector.

Hft have criticised Hammond’s budget, having previously asked for an emergency injection of funding for social care in order to help alleviate recent issues in the sector, citing figures from research published in Sector Pulse Check, which found that the largest barrier to recruitment in the sector was the low wage model, which is currently employed by 80% of providers. This has resulted in 63% of providers seeing an increase in agency fees as a significant financial barrier.

Robert Longley-Cook, chief executive of Hft, said: “It is hugely disappointing that, once again, social care has not been granted any additional funding by the Chancellor. The government is right to acknowledge there is a recruitment crisis in social care, and its national recruitment campaign will go some way to address that. However, without additional funding to help us pay a competitive wage, the campaign is simply window dressing. For as long as the sector is subject to an enforced low pay model means, we will be unable to recruit and retain the right candidates, resulting in high staff turnover.

“As our Sector Pulse Check shows, providers are now being forced to fill rotas with expensive agency staff in the short term, preventing us from investing in the long-term future of our services.

“This is a sub-optimal solution for all involved. Providers are being forced to pay more for agency staff, preventing them from investing in our services and hardworking staff who work in them. The vulnerable adults supported by the sector also receive a disruption to the quality and continuity of care that they receive. There are no winners in maintaining this status quo.

“The government can no longer provide short-term solutions to long-term problems. We are more than 700 days overdue for the government’s planned green paper on the future of social care funding. With 11% of providers warning that any further funding cuts could result in a deterioration of the quality of care they are able to provide, it is vital that the government brings forward sustainable funding solutions as a matter of urgency.”

Hammond’s Spring Statement instead focused on the issues a “disorderly Brexit” will have on the UK economy, with plans in place to provide funding to police to reduce knife crime.

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Source: PR
Image: Flickr/World SkillsUK

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