Siva Anandaciva, Chief Analyst at The King’s Fund commented on yesterday’s Budget statement
‘The coronavirus outbreak has understandably altered the government’s priorities for this Budget so the extra £5 billion announced for the NHS, social care and other public services to support their response to the coronavirus is very welcome. As the situation develops, the government will need to keep under review how much funding public services need.
‘The Budget also included an additional £6 billion for the NHS to deliver on some of the government’s headline manifesto commitments. Chronic workforce shortages remain the single biggest issue currently facing the NHS and social care, yet the Budget was light on detail of how it would boost recruitment and retention, and support under pressure staff. The publication of a long-term, comprehensive NHS People Plan has been repeatedly delayed and held back to allow for the Budget commitments, so it is now essential to get this published as soon as possible.
‘The government made a manifesto commitment to extend healthy life expectancy and narrow health inequalities by 2035, yet local directors of public health are still waiting to find out know how much they will have to spend from next month. Following on from years of cuts to public health budgets, this begs the question of how seriously the government takes its commitment to improving people’s health.
‘Adult social care remains a pressing and overlooked issue, and despite the Prime Minister’s election commitment to “fix it once and for all” the pressures have only increased in recent months. It is hugely disappointing that this Budget does not include an emergency cash injection to help local government to address social care needs beyond coronavirus. In writing to MPs and peers last week, the government has still not come forward with any proposals for long-term reform of social care.’