Chancellor urged to invest in Short Breaks for seriously ill children

Rainbow Trust is calling on Chancellor Rishi Sunak to fill the £434 million gap in spending on social care services for disabled and seriously ill children as he prepares new spending plans. Later this autumn, the Chancellor will announce how funding will be allocated to each government department for the next three years in a process known as the Comprehensive Spending Review.

Rainbow Trust Chief Executive, Zillah Bingley, said:

'The COVID-19 pandemic has brought to the fore, more clearly than ever, the incredible importance of families with a seriously ill child being able to access flexible emotional and practical support. Such support and respite can help them cope far better with the demands of caring for that child and their family.
With rising numbers of families in need of Short Breaks and respite services, both now and in the future, this Comprehensive Spending Review provides a hugely important opportunity for the Chancellor to reset budgets for the next three years. We are calling on Rishi Sunak to fill the £434 million gap in services, which results in too many families missing out on the support that they need, when he announces his plans in the coming weeks.'

A £434 million gap in services has been identified in research commissioned by the Disabled Children’s Partnership. Charities like Rainbow Trust have found it increasingly difficult to access Local Authority Short Breaks funds which would enable them to support more families, despite the benefits they offer for family members and the savings they can enable for the health and care system. At the same time, emotional and practical support has historically been ruled out of scope for NHS funding. 

Rainbow Trust is part of calls from across the children’s sector to put #ChildrenAtTheHeart of government spending plans. Charities are urging the government to listen to children and young people’s views, with an open letter which children and young people can sign.

Read Rainbow Trust’s representation to the Treasury’s consultation here.