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26th November 2015

Osborne Spending Review: Impact on Welsh social care sector explained

George Osborne's Spending Review on Wednesday (November 25) will of course have an impact on social care in Wales although headline announcements such as the 'Council Tax precept' for social care and scrapping of student nurse grants will not have the same direct impact as in England.

Here are the main implications for social care in Wales explained: 

Impact on the Minimum Wage and fee-setting

Care Forum Wales is disappointed that there was no recognition in George Osborne’s UK Spending Review on Wednesday (November 25) of the implications for the sector of the previously announced increases in the minimum wage.

CFW senior policy adviser Mary Wimbury said: "We are renewing pressure on Welsh Government to earmark funding for this in its local government settlement and on local authorities to recognise the increase in costs in their social care fee setting.

"We understand that Bridgend Council has already offered an increase and discussions are underway in north Wales and the Vale of Glamorgan, with Conwy Council already having increased its fees mid-year to recognise the October minimum wage increase. Please contact your AMs and local councils and raise these issues and let us know what response you are getting."

Council Tax increases to fund social care – explaining the Welsh situation

Some members have contacted us about the Chancellor’s announcement with regard to council tax increases to fund social care, Mary Wimbury reports.

In England council tax increases are currently capped at 2 per cent, whereas they are not in Wales. The Chancellor’s announcement was that local authorities in England would be permitted to break this cap for social care funding.

Since the cap does not apply in Wales, local authorities are free to do this anyway.

Care Forum Wales' view is that it is a matter for local authorities how they fund an increase in fees, the important point for members to lobby on is that fees are increased to take account of this increase in costs.

Scrapping nurse bursaries – impact on supply of Nurses

The Chancellor announced that bursaries and grants currently in place for student nurses will be replaced scrapped and replaced with loans. 

Again, this only applied in England but CFW is concerned that this will affect the overall supply of nurses. 

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