- Date published: 13 Mar 2020 by Sophie Dodgeon
Sustainable funding for children’s social care was conspicuously missing in this week’s Budget, although emergency funding is being established to help local authorities support vulnerable people affected by the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced large injections of funding to the NHS and other public services in response to the virus, alongside new spending on infrastructure and potholes. A £5 billion COVID-19 response fund will include some funding for local authorities to ‘manage pressures on social care and support vulnerable people’.
Our Chief Executive, Zillah Bingley, said:
"Emergency funding to enable local authorities to support vulnerable groups is to be welcomed. Many families caring for a seriously ill child are already under immense pressure, and this pressure is likely to increase in the weeks ahead. Ensuring that both health care and social care support continue to be provided in these circumstances will be hugely important to these families.
However, it is disappointing that sustainable funding for social care for seriously ill children and their families is a lower priority than potholes. We urgently need this government to address the needs of this vulnerable group, and we will be looking towards the Spending Review later this year to increase health and social care support for seriously ill children and their families."
Chancellor Sunak revealed a sizeable package of additional support for businesses in response to the virus, but no mention has been made of how government will assist charities.
A new entitlement to paid leave for families of seriously ill babies and children was also announced, which we supported during a 2019 government consultation. Neonatal Pay and Leave allows new parents who are employed to claim statutory paid leave for every week their child is in neonatal care, up to a maximum of 12 weeks. At present many partners have little choice but to return to work while their sick baby is receiving treatment.
Another positive step was funding to increase the number of ‘changing places’ toilets which enable severely disabled adults and children to access facilities in more locations.