“Underwhelmed by flat and feeble commitments” – VODG responds to Comprehensive Spending Review and Autumn Budget

27 October 2021

In response to today’s (27 October) Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR) and Autumn Budget, Dr Rhidian Hughes, Chief Executive of VODG, said:

We hoped Chancellor Rishi Sunak would be big and bold in today’s announcements and deliver a long-term funding settlement for social care but instead we are left underwhelmed by a series of flat and feeble commitments that will do nothing to stabilise, strengthen, and improve social care funding.

“From today’s announcements the government may consider social care ‘funded and fixed’, which is far from the reality for people who draw on these essential services to live independent lives. VODG, alongside partners from across the sector, have voiced concerns that recent social care reform funding announcements as well as funding to help alleviate social care workforce pressures, while welcomed, is simply not enough to address the long-standing lack of investment in social care.

“The Chancellor stated that the success of today’s commitments will be measured by “the outcomes and differences we make to people’s lives” but today’s CSR and Autumn Budget will do nothing to ensure the sustainability of care and support services for disabled people and their families for the rest of this parliament.”

Through the Comprehensive Spending Review, the government sets out the government’s spending priorities for the next three years, from 2022-23 to 2024-25.

Dr Hughes added:

“Chancellor Rishi Sunak talked a lot about the government’s “vision for the future” but it is clear that this outlook does not include resolving immediate and longer-term challenges that exist within social care.

“As an infrastructure body representing voluntary sector providers of disability services, we hear first-hand about the challenges facing organisations that work alongside disabled people. Our sector is dominated by workforce pressures that are having a significant impact on the provision of social care services.

“Increases to the National Living Wage are always to be welcomed – providers want to pay their workforce a wage that reflects the vital work they carry out. However, for our members, who rely on local authority commissioners to deliver these services, such rises also bring about additional concern as to how, and whether, such increases will be funded. As it stands, it is unclear as to how the £4.8bn allocated to local authorities by the end of parliament will be distributed to social care to fund these rising costs. The risk of disabled people having services pulled away, and providers being left with a depleted workforce, as VODG has previously warned, remains.

“The single biggest difference the Chancellor could have made in this year’s CSR to the lives of people who draw on social care was to strengthen funding. Sadly, this opportunity has been missed and we are still far from the ‘age of optimism’ that the Chancellor so hopefully described.”

VODG Media Centre