Anita Charlesworth, Director of Research & Economics at the Health Foundation said: “The Autumn Statement will be deeply disappointing for all those who rely on the health and social care system. 

'The Chancellor has ignored mounting evidence that following six years of unprecedented cuts the social care system is unable to meet the needs of vulnerable, older people, particularly those on low incomes. Not taking this opportunity to boost funding means the social care crisis has again sadly been kicked into the long grass: it represents political failure on one of the biggest issues facing society today.

'The social care system was already facing a funding gap of almost £2bn for next year, and that gap is now larger. The increase in the National Living Wage to £7.50 from April 2017 is welcome, but does add several hundred million to the cost of care. Lack of action to address the huge and growing gap between the need for care and funding is a false economy which is already hitting the NHS and will now hit harder. Hospitals are already under enormous financial pressures and coping with a significant increase in patients who can’t leave hospital because of a lack of social care.

'The implication of the Chancellor’s statement, and the accompanying economic forecast, is that austerity is set to continue beyond this decade. For the next few years NHS staff will feel the impact in their pay packets. The OBR confirmed that inflation is set to increase sharply – from 0.7% this year to 2.3% next year. The 1% cap on pay awards for NHS staff will bite even harder as pay struggles to keep pace with rising household bills.'

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Jack Cutforth
Jack.cutforth@health.org.uk
020 7664 4623