“There was nothing for social work”: Social work sector responds to the Budget

Social work groups condemn the “silence” from the Chancellor on the rising pressures faced by social services, while care groups say social care is “once again betrayed” in this year’s Budget.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer is today (4 March 2021) facing fierce criticism from organisations representing social work and social care after yesterday’s Budget announcement “failed to address the impact that the pandemic has had on health and social care”.

Yesterday’s Budget to the House of Commons set out the Government’s spending commitments and revenue collection measures that will take place over the next financial year, which will be debated by MPs over the coming days before a vote is taken.

However, organisations in social work and social care condemned the lack of measures in the announcement to help social services.

The British Association of Social Workers (BASW) said “there was nothing in this budget for social work, social care or health services and the incredibly hard-pressed workforce.”

“There was no plan - indeed virtually no mention - on how to tackle the systemic social and economic problems fuelling poverty, insecure work and the housing crisis all of which predate the pandemic and which will only worsen in its aftermath without a genuine plan to reduce inequality,” BASW said in a statement.

“We need clarity about public sector and welfare spending and improvement commitments - all of which are essential as the basis of rebuilding a healthy society and economy.”

The Association of Directors of Children’s Services (ADCS) said it is “deeply disappointing” that the Chancellor was “silent on the rising pressures in children’s services, or even any of our public services.”

“The difficulties that local authorities and frontline workers face will continue beyond the next six months and the government needs to do all it can to back these vital services.”

“Since 2010, funding for local authorities has been halved while need has risen, even before the pandemic first hit. More families that did not previously rely on our services are now needing our support and we are only just seeing some of the long-term impacts of the pandemic on vulnerable children and families,” the Association said in a statement, adding: “We must do what is right for these children by being able to invest in early help services and meeting their needs before they escalate.”

However, both BASW and the ADCS welcomed the six-month extension to the £20 Universal Credit uplift, a move many in the sector had called for prior to yesterday’s announcement.

ADCS also welcomed extra funding for programmes supporting the victims of domestic violence.

The Budget was also met with criticism by groups representing practitioners working with adults.

The Independent Care Group (ICG) said it was left “dismayed” after social care and the vulnerable people who rely on it was once again “betrayed”.

“This was a pivotal moment,” said ICG chair Mike Pagham, adding: “With social care in crisis and still reeling from the devastating impact of Covid-19, today marked an opportunity to begin its recovery.”

“But while billions were promised for this, that and the other, once again social care and the vulnerable people who rely upon it have been betrayed. We have been left short-changed once again.”

“We were looking for an indication that this government and this chancellor are serious about the long-term reform of social care, but we have been left wanting yet again.”

Read more about yesterday’s Budget announcement: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/budget-2021-what-you-need-to-know

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