Local government has reacted with fury after the chancellor failed to address cross-sector calls to plug the soaring social care funding gap.
Momentum has built behind a torrent of warnings from social care directors, charities, health bosses and finance experts that the social care sector was not sustainable and was piling further pressure on an already crippled NHS.
Despite hopes that Philip Hammond would offer some relief for the struggling sectors, his first – and last – Autumn Statement bore no fruits.
Society of Local Authority Chief Executives president Jo Miller said social care was the ‘elephant in the room’.
She said: ‘It is almost universally understood that the system is extremely fragile and negatively impacts on an NHS which is also under pressure.
‘Many across both sectors had hoped for some concession from the Chancellor – a recognition of the seriousness of the situation and some clear measures to tackle it. It is disappointing that this has not happened.
‘We can only hope that, in the public spending review the Chancellor announced, the Government is developing a serious plan to ensure the future sustainability of our health and care systems.’ Independent Age chief executive Janet Morrison added: ‘The longer we ignore the problem, the worse it will get.
‘No additional funding has been forthcoming and consequently hundreds of thousands of frail and elderly will continue to suffer as care services are cut back and fall into decline.’