The autumn Budget simply didn’t go far enough for the most vulnerable people in our communities for it lacked the measures needed to make a truly positive difference to those that need it most.
The Chancellor unveiled the worst economic forecast since 2010, and yet there wasn’t one announcement on social care, which is crucial to sustaining people’s health and their contribution to society. There can be no economic health without social health.
Additional funding for the NHS in not enough and will not help to reduce demand on acute services in the way social care investment can.
Furthermore, measures to tackle delays for Universal Credit claimants are a small step forward. We now need to see further positive progress on welfare reform, including the abolition of the capping of Universal Credit at two children and the so-called ‘rape clause’, which is unethical and cruel.
Against this backdrop, social workers will continue to provide vital support and protection to children and adults in our communities every single day. But without further investment, workloads and working conditions will deteriorate further.
We are absolutely determined to get this higher up the government agenda – because society cannot afford to pressurise social workers further.
We add our support to the recent open letter to the Guardian by Joseph Stiglitz, Ha-Joon Chang and 111 others, which gave a stark warning on how ‘Austerity has failed the British people and the British economy’ and called for this Budget to end to austerity. This, sadly, did not happen.
Nevertheless, the movement to end austerity is growing. There are parallel messages from across many sectors. Our own manifesto sets out our priorities for Government which aim to improve the lives of people using services and the context in which social workers work.
We are working hard to have our message heard and are proud to support and join the voices of others.
To this end, on 30th November BASW’s Anti Austerity Action Group and Social Workers Union (SWU) will come together at the University of Salford for the launch of the Austerity Campaign Action Pack, to enable social workers to keep the pressure on to bring an end to austerity measures and to intensify our collective call for social justice.