Dismay over lack of budget help for care, says Independent Care Group chairman

The chairman of an Independent Care group in Yorkshire says Rishi Sunak’s “Mini-Budget” has missed a vital opportunity to throw a lifeline to crisis-hit care providers amidst fears that the country could be heading into a second wave of coronavirus.

Mike Padgham, the chairman for the Independent Care group for York and North Yorkshire has called on the Government to announce more financial aid for care providers following yesterday’s “Mini-Budget” in Parliament.

He said: "The fight against coronavirus continues in social care settings and there is a very real danger of a second wave for the country to face.

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"Sadly aside from extending the cut in VAT on personal protective equipment (PPE), there was very little extra support for providers who are being pushed close to the edge of survival at this critical moment.

The chairman of an Independent Care group in Yorkshire says Rishi Sunaks Mini-Budget has missed a vital opportunity to throw a lifeline to crisis-hit care providers. Photo credit: Daniel Leal-Olivas/PA Wire

"It further intensifies our call for urgent reform of the social care sector to take place straight away. We need a firm target date and a timetable for reform and we need it now."

Mr Padgham is also the managing director of the Scarborough-based care provider St Cecilia's, which operates four care homes across North Yorkshire, where 4 residents have died due to COVID-19 and another is suspected of dying from it.

He said: "I pass on my condolences to anyone who has lost anyone because of Covid-19, particularly it has hit home hard to us because of the people we lost, who we regard as members of the family.

"Many staff were in tears when this happened and it’s tragic.

Mike Padgham, the chairman for the Independent Care group for York and North Yorkshire. Photo credit: other

"Our biggest fear is worrying about a second wave, which a lot of experts say is all but conclusive is going to come.

"It’s just when it’’s going to come and we’ve got to be extra vigilant to make sure that we don’t suffer anymore in the future."

Rocketing costs from buying personal protective equipment (PPE) and extra staffing costs have hit care and nursing homes hard at a time when admissions are falling. Age UK has warned that as many as 20,000 care homes could go out of business without urgent extra support.

Local authorities have been given £3.2bn by the government to support all of their extra work during the pandemic but little of that has found its way to the frontline. And there is a £600m infection-control fund for care, nursing homes and other social care provision. But estimates suggest that care providers will face additional costs of £6.6bn between April and September.

The Scarborough-based care provider St Cecilia's, which operates four care homes across North Yorkshire, where 4 residents have died due to COVID-19 and another is suspected of dying from it.Photo credit: other

Mr Padgham added: "The pandemic has left many providers in financial crisis and we have already seen some fail and close,

"We need to see some urgent action and we need to see it now, before the loss of care providers means we can no longer meet demand."

The Independent Care Group had called on the Chancellor to help by making social care providers zero-rated for VAT, providing an instant financial saving.

Care providers pay VAT for goods and services but cannot charge VAT themselves, to offset some of those costs. Making social care providers zero-rated for VAT would provide a much-needed boost to providers.

Pictured, from left to right. Team leader Corina Grigoruta, and resident Angela Morgan, at the Scarborough-based care provider St Cecilia's today Thursday, July 9, 2020. Photo credit: other

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