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More than 50 charities believe the sustainability of social care and credibility of the UK Government’s plan now entirely depend on Rishi Sunak’s upcoming Spending Review, according to an Age UK report.

Over 50 charities and not-for-profit organisations have written to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, calling on him to use his autumn Spending Review on 27 October 2021 to pump the extra resources into social care that the service so obviously needs, as we head towards a difficult winter.

The vast bulk of the money from the Government’s National Insurance rise will be going to the NHS, with social care not expected to see any of its subsidiary allocation of £5-6 billion until autumn 2023 at the earliest.

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According to the charities, this means that, as things stand, there is no additional funding for social care services for the next two years.

Such a situation would be completely unacceptable, the charities say, since it would leave everyone who needs social care now and providers in a precarious position, and care staff with no incentive to remain in their jobs.

In their letter the charities urge the Chancellor to give local authorities a funding settlement that enables them to stabilise, strengthen and ultimately improve the care services on offer in their areas over the three-year Spending Review period.

They cite the findings of the Health and Social Care Select Committee, which said last year that an increase in annual funding of £3.9 billion by 2023–24 is needed to meet demographic changes and planned increases in the National Living Wage.

The letter was sent on the same day as Age UK and the Homecare Association publish a new joint report What if you need care at home and there’s no one to provide it? about workforce pressures within homecare, and the adverse impacts on older people in need of support.

The report reveals that 95 per cent of providers are finding recruitment to be harder now than before the pandemic and 78 per cent said it is the hardest it has ever been, a worsening position since a previous survey of homecare providers in July 2021.

It also found that 90 per cent of care workers are paid less than the real living wage and the median hourly rate of pay for a care worker in 2019/20 was just £8.50.

Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director of Age UK and Co-Chair of the Care and Support Alliance said: “It’s no exaggeration to say that Rishi Sunak, the Chancellor, holds the future of social care in his hands, because his Spending Review decisions will make or break the services on offer to the public over the next three years.

“Many commentators are sceptical that any of the £36 billion from National Insurance will ever come care’s way, but even if it does it won’t arrive until late in 2023.

“For millions of older and disabled people who use care, and their families and carers, that’s far too late. They need reliable, adequately staffed services now, delivered by care workers with enough time to give everyone the attention they require, and motivated to do the best job they can because they are properly rewarded for the important and skilful work they do.

“The only way of delivering these things is for local authorities to receive a generous Spending Review settlement in a few weeks’ time.”

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