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The care sector has reacted with disappointment at the Government’s health and social care funding announcement yesterday.  

The Prime Minister outlined plans to increase funding, over the next three years, through a new tax known as the Health and Social Care Levy. It is estimated that the levy will raise around £36bn, with £5.4bn reserved for adult social care.

A number of reforms into how people pay for adult social care in England will also come into effect over the three-year period to 2024.

Describing the social care system as being treated as a ‘Cinderella’ service to the NHS, Richard Kramer, Chief Executive at disability charity Sense, said: “After years of promised reform, and a pandemic that has brought the social care system down to its knees, we can’t help but feel disappointed by the announcement.

“We must ensure the care needs of the elderly and the disabled are addressed, and the cash doesn’t just end up filling other gaps within the wider health care system."

Experts are concerned about the impact the reforms will have on care staff. Karolina Gerlich, CEO of The Care Workers’ Charity, said: “The Charity paid out £2.2m last year to social care workers in crisis, filling the huge gap between their salary and living costs. This devastating figure represents the failings of the current social care system, and the dire need for real reform that properly recognises and respects the workforce, increases funding to providers and local councils, and treats the sector with the respect it so rightly deserves."

The tax aspect as also been flagged as unfairly taxing those who have been hit hardest by the pandemic. Stewart Stretton-Hill, Tax, Trusts and Estates Senior Associate at Irwin Mitchell said: “The tax hike may also affect people’s ability to pay into pensions so they can fund care in 50 years’ time if people are required to pay more tax now. It’s essentially kicking the can down the road for a later generation."

There are also concerns that the announcement does nothing attract and retain the care workforce. Speaking yesterday, Vic Rayner OBE, CEO of the National Care Forum, said: "Today’s announcement, for all the interest they will garner, do nothing to address the immediate crisis impacting on social care, especially enormous workforce challenges facing the sector.

"In a recent survey, NCF members provided detailed data outlining what is happening on the ground; colleagues are reporting high levels of vacancies, permanent staff exits at previously unseen levels with most leaving to join health services, retail and hospitality."

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