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BASW response to the fast-tracked Spending Review 2019

Chancellor of the Exchequer falls short in addressing the urgent need in social care

Today’s Spending Review from the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Sajid Javid MP, was an urgent opportunity for decisive government intervention to tackle the social care crisis.

While access to £1.5bn of new funding for councils to spend on social care was announced, this is merely a sticking plaster for a long-term funding and structural solution needed for adult social care – which is suffering a reported £2.5bn shortfall just to stabilise the sector. 

It is concerning that there no specific mention of addressing the massive hole in public sector funding for children’s services. 

Crucial details were also missing in the claim from Javid of “the largest increase in local spending money since 2010”.

There was little real evidence that “austerity is ending” for social care and local authorities in today’s spending review, as first announced in the 2018 Budget by the then chancellor of the exchequer, Phillip Hammond.

Instead the damage created by a decade of cuts is set to last with demand on services continuing to grow.

In addition, we have yet to see anything of the much-delayed white paper on mental health, nor the green paper on adult social care.

With their eyes on Brexit, this government has failed to deliver on their promises of prioritising health and social care, meaning local authorities will be left without the funds to deliver the services needed by the most vulnerable citizens in our communities and the public professionals working with them. 

The government must prioritise ending austerity policies that cause harm to children, adults and families with care and support needs and drive forward plans that will reform social care funding and build the social care system that we desperately need.

Anti-poverty guide

It is timely that today also marks the launch of BASW’s Anti-Poverty Practice Guide for Social Work which will support BASW members in their work with people experiencing poverty and shows how recent austerity policies have made the lives of many families and communities harsher and harder.

Social workers routinely observe the impact of reduced income, welfare, and state support on people needing services.

BASW hopes that this Guide will be a useful contribution in supporting policy makers to discuss, develop and reflect on the challenges and consequences of poverty.

Further information