Comment: Budget 2018

Responding to the Chancellor Phillip Hammond’s Autumn Budget announcement Stuart Gallimore, ADCS President, said:

On austerity and social care

“A decade of austerity has impacted on children and families, increasing demand for our help – any move away from this policy is a good thing but it is far from ‘over’.

“The Chancellor announced £410 million for social care in 2019/20, with no further detail about how this will be shared or allocated. Whilst any additional funding is to be welcomed, we need five times this amount just to plug the funding gap expected in children’s services by 2020. For children’s social care, the Chancellor announced 20 local authorities will share £84 million over five years, we would be keen to understand how this will be used to support the funding gap which exists across the sector as a whole. We are becoming increasingly concerned at the government’s piecemeal approach to funding children’s services. Ad hoc, time limited pots of funding for some local areas and not others falls woefully short of the sustainable and equitable long term investment in children and young people that is required to ensure high quality, safe services are available for them at the earliest opportunity. Today, the EIF published a report which states that small, short-term, single pots of funding from government are unhelpful compared to the benefits of long term strategic funding.”

On schools

“Just like local authorities’ schools are also facing growing funding pressures. The one off capital payment of £400 million for equipment and buildings, less than that for potholes, will not solve some of the long term issues we see in our schools. Moreover, some of the language used by the Chancellor shows a failure to understand the extent of these pressures. Failing to invest in children and their education is a false economy, the government must recognise this in time for next year’s spending review.”

On Universal Credit

“The additional funding for Universal Credit will go some way towards helping families claiming benefits but key issues, such as delays to payments and sanctions, placing further strain on vulnerable families who are already struggling with their most basic needs, remain unaddressed. In communities where Universal Credit has been rolled out, the Trussell Trust reports that referral rates to foodbanks more than doubled the national average. A system aimed at supporting vulnerable children and families should not push them into destitution and poverty.”

On mental health services

“The Chancellor also announced funding for a range of crisis services to support children and young people’s mental health. Whilst this is welcome, to achieve ‘parity of esteem’ between mental and physical health services much more must be spent much earlier on services that support children’s emotional health and well being. Without this it is unlikely that the child and adolescent mental health system will be transformed in the way that vulnerable children so rightly need and deserve.”

ENDS



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