Social care ‘needs funding boost’ alongside NHS £20bn a year extra

18 Jun 18

The extra £20bn a year for the NHS is like “pouring water down a sink with no plug in” unless social care also receives a funding boost, council leaders and health groups have warned today.

The prime minister today confirmed plans to give the NHS in England around £384m more in real terms each week by 2023-24. 

In a speech Theresa May said:  “The NHS will be growing significantly faster than the economy as a whole, reflecting the fact that the NHS is this government’s number one spending priority.

“This money will be provided specifically for the NHS. And it will be funded in a responsible way.”

May indicated her intentions on the BBC’s The Andrew Marr Show yesterday but the announcment has already been criticised this morning for a lack of clarity as to where the funding will come from and for failing to include social care.

Glen Garrod, president of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services, said: “It is deeply disappointing to see no further investment in social in this settlement.

“Putting money into the NHS without putting it into social care is like pouring water down a sink with no plug in.

“If we’re to truly put health and social care on a sustainable footing, we must tackle it as a whole.”

CIPFA’s chief executive Rob Whiteman said the extra cash would not deliver long-term change and the NHS was likely to “remain relatively starved of capital”.

“Governments for decades have grappled with the problem that much needed periodic injections of cash in response to crises do not tackle system-wide public health prevention and determinants of poor health such as poor housing, skills and under-funded children’s and adult social services.”

He also questioned whether the social care green paper, due imminently, would solve the solution to the social care funding crisis.

Izzi Seccombe, chair of the Local Government Association’s community wellbeing board, raised concerns about social care’s omission from the settlement.

She said: “Without essential council services, which help people live healthy lives in their own homes and communities, the NHS cannot thrive and further rises in demand will see the A&E crisis spiral to an unresolvable, year-round problem.

“But the lack of funding for council services – especially for public health and adult social care, which are at breaking point - makes it ever harder to keep people out of hospital and to help those who have to be admitted to return home with the support they would wish for.”

May told Marr that the funding boost would be supported by a “Brexit dividend”- a claim that was dismissed by Paul Johnson, director of the Institute for Fiscal studies.

In her speech, May said that taxpayers would need to contribute “a bit more” but that this would be done in a “fair and balanced way.”

May also said the government would come forward with plans to put social care “on a more sustainable footing” in the forthcoming spending review. 


The IFS previously said that to maintain NHS service delivery, UK households would have to pay up to £2,000 more per year in tax

Before May's speech, health secretary Jeremy Hunt refused to rule out some of the funding coming from increased taxation when interviewed by the BBC today.

 “You can’t have this big increase in the proportion of our GDP that we spend without having some impact on the taxation system,” he said.

Sarah Wollaston, Conservative chair of the health and social care select committee, was also critical of the announcement:

Alternatives to the Brexit dividend are increases in VAT, national insurance or income tax, according to the IFS.

The prime minister will also ask the NHS to produce a 10 year, long-term plan later this year.

She will say: “This must be a plan that ensures every penny is well spent.

“It must be a plan that tackles waste, reduces bureaucracy and eliminates unacceptable variation, with all these efficiency savings reinvested back into patient care.”

Devolved nations will receive a portion of the funding under the Barnett Formula.

Although the exact figures will not be known until the next Budget, it is expected that Scotland will receive £2bn, Wales £1.2m and Northern Ireland £700m.

UPDATE at 1.30pm on 18/06/18:

This story has been updated to reflect that Theresa May has now given her speech announcing the extra funding , and further comments from that speech have been added.

CIPFA’s reaction to the story has also been added. 

Further comments on the NHS funding announcement:


“Health and social care should not be viewed in isolation from each other.

“Extra funding and system reform will complement each other, reducing unplanned and planned hospital admissions and lowering the social care cost burden for local authorities as well as improving residents’ lives.”

David Williams, County Councils Network spokesman for health and social care, and leader of Hertfordshire County Council


“We will want to see the details of the announcement, including the impact on the wider health budget, but the immediate task ahead is significant.

“The average annual increase of 3.4% above inflation over the next five years is only slightly more than the 3.3% increases some experts say is needed to just maintain the current levels of service in the face of growing cost and demand.”

Chris Hopson, chief executive of NHS Providers


 “Although the billions promised will keep services running, it falls far short of what’s needed to save social care services and is unlikely to be enough to keep pace with growing demand.

 “More importantly, the NHS needs a funding guarantee, not a pledge borne out of fantasy economics, and the dubious prospect of a Brexit bonanza, to see it out of the woods.”

Dave Prentis, Unison general secretary.


“Given the untold damage that Brexit will cause the UK economy, these plans don't add up.

“The OBR and the Bank of England have already warned that any Brexit dividend will be dwarfed by the economic disaster that is Brexit.

Judith Jolly, Liberal Democrat health spokesperson

Did you enjoy this article?