By Harry Hayfield, a registered carer
As someone who has regularly been stung by the broken promises made at the dispatch box of a Budget, I’ve developed the habit of cutting through the rhetoric by looking at the written record of what a Chancellor has really said.
This week, Philip Hammond claimed this was a ‘Budget…for the strivers, the grafters and the carers who are the backbone of our communities’.
But predictably these fine words weren’t backed up with actions. In fact, no more mention of carers was made throughout the rest of the Chancellors announcement.
There was no mention of the devolution of Carer’s Allowance to Wales and Northern Ireland. Despite it’s having been devolved to Scotland where, unlike in the rest of the UK, it will be raised to match unemployment benefit.
There was no mention of an upgrade to Carers Allowance to the national living wage, or even better, matching it to the amount that councils pay for care. This would pay carers £16 an hour as a minimum.
But, most importantly of all, the announcement of “extra” spending on social care was largely a mirage.
Social care spending has been cut by £7bn since 2010. Between 2018-19 councils are expected to make further “savings” of £700m. That’s not even taking into account a recent NHS Providers report which hypothesizes that demand could rise to the region of £440m between 2018/19 alone.
True, the NHS is getting an extra £20 billion pounds over the next five years, but when we look at social care a different story emerges. Nothing has been announced for 20-21, 21-22, 22-23, and 23-24.
For people like me, who have to care for their housebound and elderly grandparents, and who would be financially far worse off under this Government’s preferred route of getting people into work, this budget was a failure.
Austerity is far from over.
You can register for the National Health Action Party’s AGM here.