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By Debbie le Quesne

Posts Tagged ‘living wage

Latest calculations – the Budget impact on social care

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Oh my life . . . I knew the Budget was bad news, but I’ve just read a piece from a recent edition of The Guardian and I think I feel sick.

I’m trying to console myself with the fact that this publication does not align itself with the Conservative government, but I know some of the figures presented are credible.

The piece suggests that the care sector has been “invisible” to George Osborne. I agree. I cannot image any politician setting in stone anything like the national living wage knowing the impact it could have.

Let me quote: “Let’s suppose Osborne had done all his sums, however. In that case, the logical conclusion can only be good news for social care because he must have realised he would have to factor in a hefty bung of taxpayers’ money to meet the sharply rising costs of paying the NLW from next April. Any other way lies disaster.”

As the article says “there simply isn’t the money in the system to meet the costs without it.”

According to initial calculations by the Local Government Association, indemnifying care contractors against the new minimum would cost councils in England an extra £330m next year, rising to £1bn extra by 2020 (Guardian).

But rightly, as stated “at a time when, the association says, the funding gap in adult social care is widening by £700m annually.”

The article goes on: “The Resolution Foundation thinktank, which has carried out previous detailed analysis of the implications of ending the low-pay scandal in social care, puts the UK-wide extra costs to the public purse of Osborne’s plan at £1.3bn by 2020 – on top of another £1bn already pencilled in for increases in the original national minimum wage.

“In net terms, deducting savings to the exchequer after tax and benefits, the foundation reckons the additional costs to be £675m by 2020, or just over £1.2bn including the amount already allocated for the national minimum wage.”

Oh my life!

Already we have seen hospital admissions soaring since the austerity measures began and a strong argument presented that social care funding cuts are to blame. I fear sores is to come, though there will be regional differences.

My members and I in the West Midlands are particularly concerned over the issue and we are busy putting together figures to ensure that local councilors, our MPs and the LA staff are aware of the impact.

The West Midlands is more dependent than many other areas on local authority care funding and throughout the region it’s the prime source of business.

As the main funders in the marketplace – there are very limited self-funder opportunities – authority fees are calculated to allow only a small profit for providers, which these wage increases will easily wipe out. Simply, there is currently no money left in the pot for my members, or, indeed, the LAs.

I wonder how we will remember Mr Osborne: Will he be the one who has managed to unstick the whole fabric of social care in the UK, despite his government’s pledge that “social care is a priority”?

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