Spring Budget 'inadequate for social care and disastrous for the NHS'

The Chancellor’s Spring Budget is “inadequate for social care and disastrous for the NHS”, Liberal Democrat Shadow Health Secretary Norman Lamb said in the House of Commons today.

During a debate on the implications of the Budget for local communities, Mr Lamb said that the extra £1bn announced for social care next year falls far short of what is required to meet the needs of the care system and the people who rely on it. 

According to the charity Age UK, more than a million older people now have unmet care needs because of cuts to the funding of social care in recent years.  The Health Foundation has estimated that the funding gap in social care will be £2bn next year alone, but Philip Hammond yesterday confirmed that £2bn of extra funding will be stretched over three years - with very little extra cash for the NHS.

This is disastrous for elderly and disabled people who rely on social care, Norman Lamb said, after the Care Quality Commission recently confirmed that the care system is close to tipping point.

He pointed out that despite a £325 million boost for capital spending in the NHS, fewer than 10 areas will benefit from this and healthcare spending is still projected to fall as a proportion of national income between now and 2020.  

At the end of his speech, Norman Lamb challenged the Tory Government once again to work with other parties to come up with a long-term funding settlement for the NHS and Social Care, including the possibility of a dedicated Health and Care Tax.

"The NHS and the care system were designed in the 1940s, when the needs of this country were wholly different from today. There is an overwhelming need for the whole approach to be refreshed."

You can read Norman's full speech here.

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