Social Care Funding Insult: Damage caused by Millions of Pounds Cut


The Government has been condemned for halving the funding promised for the social care workforce, with one charity saying it is an “insult” to the sector. Millions of pounds have been removed from previously announced funding for a social care sector widely reported to be in trouble.

In December 2021, the Government released the People at the Heart of Care White Paper on adult social care reform, pledging to invest “at least £500 million over the next three years to begin to transform the way we support the social care workforce”. This would include dedicated investment in knowledge, skills, health and wellbeing, and recruitment policies to make the job more attractive.

However, the Department of Health and Social Care have recently said they would now only provide £250 million, instead of the previously agreed figure. This has been met with dismay from groups like Mencap, whose supporter Jackie O’Sullivan said: “This plan is an insult to a sector that was once treated as a priority for Government”. The King’s Fund have also spoken out, calling it “a dim shadow of the widescale reform to adult social care that this Government came into office promising”.

The social care workforce is key to the sector’s stability, but despite it being at the heart of Government plans, the funding shortfall of £250 million leaves the workforce feeling undervalued and underfunded. This is compounded by the Department’s choice to not allocate the remaining £600 million of funding for the next two years, a move which Age UK’s director Caroline Abrahams has described as a “disappointment”.

The announced package of reforms does include investment in digital social care records, and the setting up of an Older People’s Housing Taskforce as well as £1.6 billion to help discharge people from hospital. The Government have also previously announced £25 million of funding to support unpaid carers and £300 million to help with the integration of housing into local health and care strategies, although these have not been mentioned in the current announcement.

Helen Whately, the social care minister, said of the package: “It focuses on recognising care with the status it deserves, while also focusing on the better use of technology, the power of data and digital care records, and extra funding for councils – aiming to make a care system we can be proud of.”

The failure of the Government to properly fund social care is an insult to the millions of people who rely on it, as well as those who work hard to provide it. Despite the current situation, the Government must commit to delivering on its promises of creating a system we can be proud of, and a sector with the status and respect it deserves.

The company mentioned in this article is Mencap, a learning disability charity founded in 1946. Mencap works to create Fairer Services for more than 1.4 million people with a learning disability in the United Kingdom, as well as their families and carers. They provide information and support as well as campaigns, fundraising and volunteering opportunities.

The person mentioned in this article is Jackie O’Sullivan, Mencap’s supporter. A passionate campaigner, Jackie has raised awareness, spoken on behalf of the charity, and served as a Mental Health ambassador for seven years. She is deeply concerned about the inadequate funding of the social care sector and has spoken out against the Government’s decision to halve the funding promised for the social care workforce.