Autumn Budget 2017: A Missed Opportunity

by Andrew Cannon

Reflecting on the Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond’s Budget statement on 22 November 2017, I’m struck by the missed opportunities to address the issues facing adults with learning disabilities.

The Chancellor has announced an additional £2.8bn funding for the NHS in England, along with a £10bn capital investment fund for hospitals. This is great news for healthcare – the funding is much-needed and we welcome it.

However, it is hugely disappointing not to see any mention of the critical funding challenges that the social care sector faces.

The focus on investment for hospitals misses the point that the people we support use services based within the community – whether that’s within their own home or a residential care home.

In doing so, the Budget overlooks the thousands of people who rely on the services we provide every day to keep them out of hospital and within their own communities, where they are able to develop and maintain relationships and get the support they need to live healthy, safe and rewarding lives.

Mr Hammond has also failed to provide any clarity on the issue of sleep-ins, and does nothing to address the critical concerns raised in the latest CQC State of Care report, which described the sector as close to breaking point.

Overall, this Budget represents yet another missed opportunity to reassure some of the most vulnerable members of society that they will not bear the brunt of inconsistent Government strategy.

I can’t help but reflect on the lack of progress made since the Autumn statement two years ago. How much longer can this Government leave the sector on the brink?