The UK’s social care services could see a welcome financial boost from April next year, with sources close to government saying that chancellor Philip Hammond is now looking into whether between £700 million and £1.5 billion extra could be funnelled into the sector to help reduce the numbers of older people going into hospital.
What’s more, Mr Hammond is also considering allowing councils increase the amount they can add to council tax bills so as to help fund social care. At the moment, it is capped at two per cent, the Guardian reports. So come the release of the Autumn Statement on November 23rd, the NHS could well be granted access to fresh funding to build new health centres and hospitals.
Health secretary Jeremy Hunt, NHS bosses and local council leaders are all now putting pressure on the chancellor to make some provisions for the NHS amid concerns that it will not be able to cope with the demand this winter.
“It is my view that, if further funding can be located, it should go into social care, with the expectation that this will indirectly relieve some of the difficulties being encountered by the NHS. I believe many of my colleagues are reaching the same conclusion,” GP and Tory MP James Davies told the Observer.
Certainly, it seems as though something must be done – and soon. A new report from UNISON has found that cuts to social care budgets are having a serious impact on some of the most vulnerable people in society. Of those asked, 63 per cent said they have less time to spend with those they care for because of staff shortages, while 36 per cent said that cutting corners and rationing of supplies has climbed because of budget cuts.
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