New funding social care green paper announced as well as £2 billion stopgap for councils
Spring Budget 2017
Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond has recognised the care funding gap with an additional £2 billion to councils in England, over the next 3 years, to spend on adult social care services.
However, this funding is seen as a stopgap before a more secure and sustainable system is in place. The government will be publishing a social care funding green paper in future.
5.5 At this Budget, the government is building on these with further support in the medium term. The government will provide an additional £2 billion to councils in England over the next 3 years to spend on adult social care services. £1 billion of this will be provided in 2017-18, ensuring councils can take immediate action to fund care packages for more people, support social care providers, and relieve pressure on the NHS locally. Building on the approach to the Better Care Fund, councils will need to work with their NHS colleagues to consider how the funding can be best spent, and to ensure that best practice is implemented more consistently across the country. This funding will be supplemented with targeted measures to help ensure that those areas facing the greatest challenges make rapid improvement, particularly in reducing delayed transfers of care between NHS and social care services. Overall, local government will be able to increase social care-specific resources in real terms in each of the remaining 3 years of the Parliament.
5.6 In the longer term, the government is committed to establishing a fair and more sustainable basis for adult social care, in the face of the future demographic challenges set out in the OBR’s Fiscal Sustainability Report. The government will set out proposals in a green paper to put the system on a more secure and sustainable long term footing.
Disability Rights UK would like to see social care funds used to support independent living - based on disabled people having a life, with services co-produced between disabled people and commissioners of services.
Education, skills and work
The spring budget 2017 also announced proposals regarding higher quality technical education as well as further education, part-time study and doctoral maintenance loans.
Children, aged 11 to 16, who receive free school meals or whose parents claim Maximum Working Tax Credit will be allowed free transport to attend their nearest selective school.
4.11 The Budget announces:
- T-levels: 16-19 Technical education – The government will deliver the recommendations of Lord Sainsbury’s panel. The government will increase the number of programme hours of training for 16-19 year olds on technical routes by more than 50%, to over 900 hours a year on average, including the completion of a high-quality industry work placement during the programme. To ensure the routes are well-designed and colleges properly prepared, they will be introduced from 2019-20, increasing funding in line with this roll out, with over £500 million of additional funding invested per year once routes are fully implemented.
- Further Education maintenance loans – The government’s aim is to encourage students to continue their training at high quality institutions such as National Colleges or Institutes of Technology. This will create real parity with the academic route and develop the higher-level skills employers demand. From 2019-20, the government will provide maintenance loans, like those available to university students, to students on technical education courses at levels 4 to 6 in National Colleges and Institutes of Technology. This will also support adults to retrain at these institutions.
4.12 In the modern global economy, the government recognises that individuals should have the opportunity to retrain and upskill at all points in their life, and to develop skills at the highest level. The Budget sets out further steps to achieve this ambition:
- Lifelong learning pilots – The changing nature of work makes retraining and reskilling essential and so the government will spend up to £40 million by 2018-19 to test different approaches to help people to retrain and upskill throughout their working lives.
- Return to work support – The government will work with business groups and public sector organisations to identify how best to increase the number of returnships, supported by £5 million of new funding. Returnships offer people who have taken lengthy career breaks a clear route back to employment.
- Part-time maintenance loans – To promote equality with full-time undergraduate study and support lifelong learning, the government confirms the terms of maintenance loans for part-time undergraduates, previously announced at Spending Review 2015. These loans will become available for degree level study in 2018-19, with an extension to distance learning and sub-degree study in 2019-20.
- Doctoral loans – The government confirms the terms of doctoral loans for 2018-19, previously announced at Budget 2016. These new loans will provide up to £25,000 for doctoral study and have the potential to reach a wider range of students and research than before.
School transport – The government wants to ensure that children from disadvantaged backgrounds have every opportunity to access the best possible education, without the cost of transport acting as a barrier. Pupils typically travel nearly three times as far to attend selective schools. The government is therefore expanding the current ‘extended rights’ entitlement for children aged 11 to 16, who receive free school meals or whose parents claim Maximum Working Tax Credit. They will now get free transport to attend the nearest selective school in their area, bringing it in line with free transport provision for those travelling to their nearest school on faith or belief grounds.
The budget also increases Class 4 National Insurance contributions from 9% to 10% in April 2018, and to 11% in April 2019.
Disability Rights UK has concerns about this as disabled people are more likely than non-disabled people to be self-employed so will be hit by this increase. The Government has announced a U turn on this proposal, which has now been abandoned
3.5 Class 4 National Insurance contributions (NICs) – The government has already announced that it will abolish Class 2 NICs – a flat-rate charge on the self-employed – from April 2018. On its own this would increase the differential between the rates of National Insurance paid by employees and those paid by the self-employed. Since April 2016, the self-employed also have access to the same State Pension as employees, worth £1,800 a year more to a self-employed individual than under the previous system. To reduce the differential and reflect more equal pension entitlement, the Budget announces that the main rate of Class 4 NICs will increase from 9% to 10% in April 2018, and to 11% in April 2019. Taken together with the abolition of Class 2 NICs, this means that only self-employed individuals with profits above £16,250 will have to pay more NICs. Alongside Matthew Taylor’s review into employment practices, the government will consider whether there is a case for greater parity in parental benefits between the employed and self-employed.