Social care ‘top priority’ for Philip Hammond as he prepares Budget
Addressing the under pressure social care system is the Government’s “top priority” heading into Chancellor Philip Hammond’s Budget, a senior source has claimed.
The Sunday Times reports that Mr Hammond will unveil a short-term, ring-fenced cash injection worth hundreds of millions of pounds for councils to ease the burden on struggling social care services.
Theresa May and her Chancellor are also reportedly considering an overhaul of the system later this year, which could include a review by an independent expert.
The pair held a number of meetings in recent days, the paper reports, as Mr Hammond prepares for his Budget on 8 March.
It comes amid widespread pressure on ministers to address the systemic issues in social care and boost funding.
A senior government source said: “There will be more money but the Prime Minister and the Chancellor do not want a sticking plaster solution. It is top of the list. This is now the main subject of Budget discussions.”
Mrs May hinted this week that she was seeking a long-term solution to the issues facing social care services during a private speech to Conservative councillors.
“More money is not the only answer,” she said.
“Over half of all social care delayed discharges are in just 24 council areas. We need to properly integrate health and social care to eliminate unnecessary delay. In the medium and long term, we recognise the need for far-reaching reform to encourage high standards across the whole country.”
Following mounting pressure Communities Secretary Sajid Javid announced in December that councils could increase council tax by 6% over the next two years in a bid to raise cash for social care.