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£2bn for social care over three years – too little, too late?



Chancellor of the exchequer, Philip Hammond announced as part of the 2017 Budget today (8 March), that there will be an extra £2bn for social care funding over next three years.

There will be an extra £2bn for social care funding over the next three years, chancellor of the exchequer, Philip Hammond announced as part of the 2017 Budget today (8 March).

The provision includes £1bn spending for social care in 2017/18.

However, the funding boost was met with criticism from the Labour Party.

Leader of the Opposition, Jeremy Corbyn responded: ‘This government has taken a sledgehammer to public services in recent years the chancellor now expects praise for patching up a small part of that damage.

‘The budget didn’t provide the necessary funding now for the crisis in the NHS, which the BMA reckons, needs an extra £10bn. It didn’t provide the funding necessary to end the state of emergency in social funding now, which needs £2bn a year to plug the gaps according to the King’s Fund. That is not met by £2bn over three years. The money is needed now,’ Corbyn said.

The Labour leader raised the 1% pay cap that public sector workers have faced since 2010, which has meant a 9% decrease in pay in real terms during that time.

‘We all pay for low pay,’ Corbyn said, indicating the need to provide more benefits to struggling workers.

Missed opportunity

Commenting on the budget, Royal College of Nursing (RCN) chief executive and general secretary, Janet Davies said: ‘Today, the Chancellor missed an opportunity to give the NHS the level of investment he knows it needs.

‘Community services are chronically understaffed and nurses are working unpaid overtime to hold things together.

‘Today’s Budget has done nothing to keep patient services staffed at the right level for safe care and nothing to value nursing staff after six years of real-terms cuts to their pay.

‘If we are to keep the best nursing staff working here and fill thousands of vacancies, the Government must properly fund the NHS and scrap the pay cap.’