Chancellor's failure to fund social care will have 'human cost', says leader of Tory council

‘Tragically, the human cost of this will be elderly people continuing to face an ever uncertain future where they might no longer receive the dignified care and support they deserve’

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Philip Hammond’s failure to inject money into social care means the services remain in “crisis” and could result in a “human cost”, according to the leader of a Conservative council.

The criticism comes after Mr Hammond, the Chancellor, failed to earmark any of the additional £23bn for infrastructure on social care at his first Autumn Statement in the Commons. His only mention of the NHS was to repeat a pledge to provide the health service with £10bn in extra funding by the end of the decade.

Izzie Secombe, the Tory leader of Warwickshire County Council and a member of the Local Government Association, said councils, care providers, charities and the NHS have all urged Mr Hammond to use his first financial statement as Chancellor to properly fund adult social care.

But, she added: “The Government’s failure to act today means social care remains in crisis, councils and the NHS continue to be pushed to the financial brink and face the prospect of more care providers leaving the publicly-funded market or ceasing trading.

“Tragically, the human cost of this will be elderly and vulnerable people continuing to face an ever uncertain future where they might no longer receive the dignified care and support they deserve, such as help getting dressed or getting out and about, which is crucial to their independence and wellbeing.”

The former Conservative pensions minister Baroness Altmann added: “We need urgent recognition of the disgraceful state of social care.”

Unison’s general secretary Dave Prentis said that “hopes were raised” before the statement on Wednesday that the Chancellor would inject money into social care services and ease the burden on the NHS and local councils.

“Instead the Government has chosen to ignore social care, preferring to look the other way as a growing number of elderly people are getting no care at all,” he added.

But the Chancellor denied that services are facing a “looming chaos” as he was accused by Labour MP Luciana Berger of failing to even mention social care in his statement or in the 72-page document outlining the Government’s spending plans.

Mr Hammond added: “We will work with them to make sure it’s effective because it has got to be spent effectively, it’s got to be delivered effectively. He [Jeremy Hunt] is working very closely with NHS management.

“I know it’s tempting for honourable members opposite to paint everything as a crisis or a looming chaos. It’s not the case. We have a programme of investment in the NHS, it is being delivered and we’ll keep a very close eye on the way it’s delivered.”

Lord Porter, chairman of the Local Government Association, which represents councils providing social care, said: “Councils, the NHS, charities and care providers have been clear about the desperate need for the Chancellor to take action to tackle the funding crisis in social care. It is unacceptable that this has not been addressed in the Autumn Statement.

“The Government must take urgent action to properly fund social care if councils are to stand any chance of protecting the services which care for the elderly and vulnerable.

“Extra council tax-raising powers will not bring in enough money to alleviate the pressure on social care and councils will not receive the vast majority of new funding in the Better Care Fund until the end of the decade. Services supporting our elderly and vulnerable are at breaking point now.”

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