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NCF Response to the Autumn Statement 

The National Care Forum (NCF) – the leading association for not-for-profit social care has responded to The Chancellor’s Autumn Statement. 

Professor Vic Rayner OBE, CEO commented: “We welcome the minimum wage increase which will be a vital boost to care workers income but recognise that this does not address the fundamental lack of appropriate pay, terms and conditions for those working in this sector. We have called for a fully funded approach to workforce planning and reward, and it will be essential that the local government settlement delivers on this.  Also welcomed by our members is the unfreezing of the Local Housing Allowance. This should never have been frozen in the first place, as it was designed to track changes in the local rental market. However, the move to bring this in line with the 30th percentile of local rents, will help both people threatened with homelessness, as well as those who are moving into, or moving on from supported housing. We also welcome the expansion of VAT relief on energy-saving materials on buildings used for charitable purposes and new green technologies. 

“What is notably missing from the Chancellor’s ‘110 measures for growth’, is any mention of adult social care and its untapped potential to unlock economic growth, empower individuals and communities and support unpaid carers and those accessing social care into the workforce.  If he was instead to think social care first, then the huge growth potential being created around tech in care, opportunities for further apprenticeships and the development of the care workforce would be obvious. Meanwhile, the announcements about welfare and Work Capability Assessment reforms risk achieving exactly the opposite of the intended outcome. It risks increasing the health inequalities and exclusion from the labour market experienced by many of those receiving care and their unpaid carers. A better way to enable more people to return to the workforce is to invest in direct and tailored support for them and their potential employers, and support longer-term population health and wellbeing measures, which well-resourced social care provides.  

“The Chancellor’s Autumn Statement fails to recognise that social care matters to us all. Without long-term investment in adult social care and local government, we will simply continue to see the widening of profound health and care inequalities as identified in the Care Quality Commission State of Care Report. Long-term investment must also be accompanied by the co-production of a clear set of mutual rights and responsibilities of citizens, families, communities and the state.” 

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