Social care funding in Budget gives sticking plasters a bad name

Norman Lamb, the Liberal Democrat Shadow Health Secretary, has criticised Chancellor Philip Hammond's response to the NHS and Social Care crisis in his Spring Budget. 

Today, the Chancellor announced an extra £2 billion for social care over the next three years. However, independent think tanks and charities including the highly-respected Health Foundation, The King's Fund, and the Nuffield Trust have concluded that the struggling care sector faces a funding shortfall of £2bn next year alone, when only £1bn additional funding will be made available. 

An extra £325m of capital funding has also been released to invest in service capacity and put more family doctors into A&E departments. But this is only a fraction of the £1.2bn cuts to capital spending this year, as the Department of Health slashed capital spending to plug gaps in Trusts' running costs.  

The Liberal Democrats had called for £4 billion of extra NHS and care funding for 2017-18, including £2bn for social care, £1.5bn to improve efficiency in the NHS and £500m dedicated funding for mental health. 

Commenting on the Budget, Norman Lamb said: 

"This announcement gives sticking plasters a bad name. It is a woefully inadequate response to the impossible pressure the NHS and care services are under.

"There will be a £2bn black hole in social care funding next year alone, yet the Government plans to stretch this amount across three years. This will mean more elderly people going without the care they need, more pressure on A&E, and more people stuck in hospital beds due to a lack of care in the community. 

"The Government has refused to give the NHS the extra funding it needs. The percentage of our national income spent on the NHS is still set to fall which makes no sense at a time of rising demand."

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