‘It sounds like a lot of money but doesn’t go far enough - experts give their view on £2bn cash boost for social care in government’s Budget
- Credit: PA
Experts working in the social care have welcomed the government's £2bn cash injection into the sector, but say more will be needed to make up for 'years of under-funding'.
In his Budget Philip Hammond announced the extra funding - £1bn of which will be provided in 2017/18 - saying it would give councils the chance to take 'immediate action to fund care packages for more people'.
He added the money would help councils support social care providers and relieve pressure on the NHS locally.
The government will also set out proposals to put the social care system on a 'more secure and sustainable long-term footing' in a Green Paper later this year.
John Bacon, who sits on board of Norfolk Independent Care - which represents care providers - said: 'The money is much-needed, which is an obvious statement because the whole sector has been severely under-funded.
'The devil is in the detail but it is encouraging that the government are putting in £1bn upfront.'
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He said people with mental health problems had suffered the brunt of social care cuts for some time, and believes the money is best spent on preventative services - which would represent 'an investment'.
Meanwhile Tracy Wharvell, a Norfolk-based director at the National Care Association, said: 'I think all money is well received by the sector, however there has been such a lack of investment that it will take some time to turn it around.
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'It sounds like a lot of money, but it doesn't go far enough.'
And Mark Harrison, chief executive of disability charity Equal Lives - which supports many people who receive social care, said: 'Clearly more money is needed.
'The Local Government Association said there will be a £5.8bn funding gap by the end of the decade.'
He added: 'Since 2010 we have seen people in receipt of social care budgets have had those cut by at least 50pc, or have lost eligibility.
'That has had a huge effect on people's ability to live independently. I don't want all the funding to go to residential institutions.
'I hope it is invested in providing people with better choice and control of their social care and enable them to manage their own care.'
Bill Borrett, Norfolk County Council's adult social care committee chairman, said he was very pleased with the news and added he awaited the Green Paper with interest.