4th March 2021 • My Family Our Needs

On Wednesday 3 March, Chancellor Rishi Sunak delivered his 2021 Budget to the nation.

The care sector was once again disappointed at the lack of support given to social care.

The social care sector has had an extremely challenging year. There was hope that this Budget would bring much needed extra financial support, however, in his statement to the Commons, the chancellor ignored the social care system and set out only a temporary extension of the universal credit boost. There was no mention of additional support for the 2.5 million people on legacy benefits, the majority of whom are disabled people. The lack of support has seen the sector respond with disappointment.

Sarah Battershall, Director of Quality and Practice Development at United Response, said:

“Public services like social care have been the backbone of our country’s day-to-day response to this awful virus, with frontline staff giving creative and passionate help to millions since March 2020.

“Rounds of applause were a touching appreciation of these tireless heroes during last year, but today was a missed opportunity to give social care the platform it really needs to do the best job it can – whatever the weather.

“The absence of any mention of social care in today’s Budget was striking at this pivotal moment, and Government must urgently bring forward its plans to invest in the future of this vital sector and those who depend on it.

“But if it’s once again ‘the same old story’, then let’s change the narrative: we all deserve the ability to make connections, nurture relationships, be supported and support each other. Government must now make social care a priority for all of us – for our friends and families, our present and futures.”

Kirsty Matthews, Chief Executive of Hft, said:

“It is highly disappointing that the government has failed to yet again offer any kind of additional financial support to social care in today’s Budget announcement. This is even more of a shock coming as it does at the end  of an extraordinarily challenging year, which has seen social care staff working tirelessly on the frontline throughout the pandemic to support some of our most vulnerable adults in society.

“Today’s budget marks another missed opportunity to address the financial challenges the sector has been facing for many years, including the continued underfunding of increases to the National Living Wage which impacts on all providers’ ability to recruit and retain these key members of staff. We urge the government to take action now and recognise the efforts of a sector all too often considered an afterthought. There has never been a more appropriate time to address the needs of a beleaguered but vital social care sector, by bringing forward the long-term funding proposals which have been promised on so many occasions.”

Anastasia Berry, Policy Manager at the MS Society and Policy Co-Chair of the Disability Benefits Consortium, said:

“It is outrageous that over 1.9 million disabled people on legacy benefits, including Employment and Support Allowance and Jobseekers Allowance, have been refused the same financial lifeline those on Universal Credit have been getting for nearly a year. How the Chancellor can stand up and say the Government’s response to COVID-19 has been “fair, with the poorest households benefitting the most” – when so many vulnerable are having to chose between heating their homes or eating – is beyond us.

“Government excuses so far have been at best feeble, and at worst actively insulting to those being pushed further into poverty. They must give people on legacy benefits the £20 per week uplift, and end this discrimination against disabled people immediately.”

Visit the Government website to read the Budget report in full.