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National Care Forum responds to the Spring Statement

by Lisa Carr

The National Care Forum (NCF) is the leading association for not for profit care and support providers. Responding to the government’s Spring Statement today, Vic Rayner OBE, CEO said:

“We welcome the announcement of the increase in the National Insurance (NI) threshold by £3,000, equalising it with the income tax threshold, which we hope will help many of those working in social care from July onwards. The 5p cut in fuel duty is also welcome and will also help both employees and employers, but is in no way sufficient to deal with the price increases that will fall particularly hard on domiciliary care provision.

“At this stage it is unclear what effect the change in NI thresholds will have on the overall amount of funding for health and social care raised through the NI levy. The amount of money going from the levy to support social care is already too low – at £5.4bn out of a previously estimated £36bn – and the government cannot allow any reduction in the total promised for social care as a result of this Statement.

“The pressures in social care as a result of COVID remain as challenging as ever and this Statement did not address them. With less than 8 days to go, the government has been completely silent on what 1st April and the assumptions about ‘living with COVID’ mean for those receiving care and support, their loved ones or the adult social care workforce. It is of grave concern that there was no recognition in the Spring Statement of the need to continue the Infection Control and Testing Fund, which provides financial support to help the sector navigate COVID. This comes to an end on 31 March, and yet all guidance continues to point to significant expectations around testing, infection control, isolation and the ongoing management of outbreaks within services. For social care this seems less about ‘living with covid’, and more about  ‘living without a plan’.

“We call on the government for clarity now on the plans to ‘live with COVID’ in adult social care and for ongoing financial support for the sector in recognition that COVID has not gone away and the costs for managing infection prevention and control are very much still here.”

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