Budget 2020: Govt fails to ‘get it done’ on social care

Hannah Godfrey reports...

Chancellor Rishi Sunak only gave a “vague indication” of how social care funding will be tackled in his inaugural Budget.

The 2020 Budget, which Sunak took more than an hour to deliver, made only vague references to social care funding, despite Sunak repeatedly referencing it was the Budget of ‘getting things done’.

The accompanying documents, which were released shortly after Sunak’s speech, re-outlined the government’s commitment to invest £1bn of additional funding for social care next year, which was announced last year.

According to Aegon pensions director Steven Cameron, it was “deeply disappointing” to receive merely a “vague indication of how or when social care funding will be tackled”.

He said: “The government needs to urgently set out a fair and sustainable system, ideally with cross-party support, detailing what the government will pay and what individuals will be asked to fund themselves, based on their housing and other wealth. Individuals then need incentivised to plan ahead.

“In our view a cap on what individuals are required to pay is essential here to avoid fear that ‘catastrophic’ care costs will wipe out their life savings and inheritance aspirations.

“With social care increasingly needed in later retirement, defined contribution pensions offer a ready-made funding solution.”

In the Queen’s speech the government promised an extra £1bn of funding for councils to “ensure that the social care system provides everyone with the dignity and security they deserve and that no one who needs care has to sell their home to pay for it.”

Last April, meanwhile, the competence of the then-government was called into question as it missed the fifth social care paper deadline.

In the March 2017 spring budget, Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond pledged £2bn extra for social care and confirmed a green paper on social care funding would be published later that year.

Later in 2017, the then-first secretary of state Damian Green announced the paper would be published by summer 2018.