Blog Chancellor chooses surplus over caring for vulnerable > PRESS STATEMENT 1 < “The Chancellor’s Comprehensive Spending Review and Autumn Statement have signally failed to address what is now a crisis in social care; and a crisis which is only set to worsen. Council tax increase to fund social care “Of course, we welcome the fact that the additional money raised by increasing council tax will be ring-fenced to adult social care; however, even if all councils did use this power, it would only raise £2 billion across the lifetime of the Parliament. This would not be enough to maintain social care even at the current level and cover the costs of the National Living Wage (of which the Chancellor’s Statement contained no mention). "We also know that these increases are at each local authorities’ discretion and some of those areas with the greatest need are those with the least ability to raise the funds they need, due to lower property values. Other local authorities may choose not to raise taxes at all. An analysis by consultants iMPower suggests that the amount raised could differ significantly from authority to authority, ranging from a near 5% increase to current adult social care spending in wealthier authorities to less than 2% in less wealthy, largely urban authorities. Better Care Fund “And, while the announcement of £1.5 billion additional funding for the Better Care Fund sounds good on paper, the reality is that previous funding has been swallowed up by health, rather than being allocated to social care. It is vital that measures are put in place – and put in place now – to make sure that this funding is targeted to genuinely preventative services, and that social and health funding is properly integrated with a real, level playing field. "However, even when added to the potential £2 billion, this total fund of £3.5 billion over 5 years is not enough to cover the rising costs of an ageing population and – thankfully – decreased mortality rates among disabled adults. Mental health “Similarly, the announcement of an additional £600 million over 5 years to mental health services is welcome – but, at just £120 million per year to cover the entire UK population, a drop in the ocean. It is estimated that 1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem each year; with an average population of almost 65 million over this period, that’s 16.25 million people with a mental health problem – giving them each less than £37 additional support - or roughly £7 per year. “The rhetoric speaks of prevention, yet the figures herald crisis. At the levels of funding that are currently set out, vulnerable people will be driven to crisis, to hospitals and to acute care – in complete contradiction to the policy direction that the Government has indicated it wishes to take. "Robbing the poorest in our society to pay for a surplus" “What has happened to the £6 billion that the Government saved by delaying the introduction of the care cap? The £6 billion that was a manifesto commitment? Is this now contributing to the Chancellor’s forecast £10 billion surplus? "Figures from the Local Government Association (LGA) and the Asociation of Directors of Adult Social Services show that £700 million is needed each year to simply maintain the care system at its current level (meeting the minimum care requirements of a population that is living longer). LGA figures also show that, on top of the £700 million, £330 million will be needed each year from 2016-17 to implement the National Living Wage across publicly funded social care. This figure will rise to £0.8 billion by 2020. Both of these should and could be funded from the £6 billion that has been saved – while still delivering the Chancellor a surplus. “Hearing the Chancellor’s statement yesterday, he opens the Government to the charge that they are simply robbing the poorest in our society to pay for a surplus; this cannot be a sustainable position." Tim Cooper, chief executive.