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Philip Hammond. Autumn statement 2016
Health Series: Expert Comment

Extra £2bn for social care ‘good news for older people’ but could have come sooner, says Cass expert

Professor Les Mayhew comments on the social care announcement in the 2017 spring budget

by George Wigmore (Senior Communications Officer)

Commenting on the £2bn social care announcement made by the Chancellor Philip Hammond in the budget, Professor Les Mayhew, a Professor of Statistics in the Faculty of Actuarial Science and Insurance at Cass Business School, said:

“The extra £2bn allocated to social care is obviously good news for older people but the total public provision in England will still be less than it was in 2009/10. Social care helps to free up beds in hospital and is the bedrock for well-being in later life. However, the data show that delayed discharges have been increasing exponentially since 2014 putting extra pressures on the NHS and reduced funding for social care is partly to blame for this.

“It is a pity that the money will not be available until next year - some advance money in this financial year would have eased pressures sooner but this opportunity was missed in last year's Autumn Statement. The budget also mentioned pressures on A&E and the use of GPs to triage patients, often elderly, before they are admitted to hospital. Many hospitals operate this system already but it is good that its value has been endorsed in the budget in this way.”

Speaking about the announcement that a new Green paper on social care funding is to be published later this year, Professor Mayhew said:

“The announcement that there would be another Green Paper to put social care funding on a more sustainable long term basis was also very welcome. This is a clear sign of dissatisfaction with the previous proposals put forward by the Dilnot Commission on funding social care just a few years ago which had already been put on ice. On the negative side, a Green Paper will take time to produce and needs to become a White Paper and then legislation before anything changes.

However, there is a wealth of good, practical ideas emerging, particularly from our recent research. Our studies include detailed proposals to  improve and simplify the means test, how to make it pay to save for social care, how to better manage transfers of people into care homes, and new financial products for funding care which include  making better use of the value of domestic property equity and savings bonds. Because social care is expensive and the number of people that will need care in the future is increasing faster than GDP, it is important that any proposals end up with a mixed funding model private-public partnership and not one based on un-deliverable tax hikes which disproportionately hit younger generations.”

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