Today, Wednesday 15 March 2023, the Chancellor announced the Government’s Spring Budget. Disappointingly, announcements for health and social care were missing, however, we welcome the three month extension to the Energy Price Guarantee (EPG) for households.
The Chancellor set out that the UK has avoided a recession and that inflation is beginning to come down. However, the Government continues to miss opportunities to put sustainable funding in place for the hospice sector to make sure that palliative and end-of-life care is available for patients and families who need it.
Health and social care completely overlooked
Heidi Travis, our Chief Executive said:
“We’re disappointed to see that health and social care has been completely overlooked in today's Spring Budget, despite being at breaking point. The hospice sector is a vital part of the health and social care system and provides support to thousands of people and their families each year. But we’re under extreme pressure from unprecedently stretched budgets, a national workforce shortage, the ongoing impact of the Coronavirus pandemic, and now, the rising cost of living.
“The lack of support announced for the health and social care system and, yet again, the absence of a commitment to a sustainable funding solution for charitable providers of palliative and end-of-life care should not be ignored. It’s inconceivable to think that the same levels of vital health services can be delivered by people buying second hand clothes from our charity shops or from marathon sponsorships plugging the gaps in funding that we face.”
With the demand for palliative care expected to grow by 55% in the coming decade, the need for the Government to bring forward a sustainable funding solution for the hospice sector is even more urgent.
Extension of financial support for cost of energy
However, the Budget did include a three-month extension to the Energy Price Guarantee (EPG) that will run until the end of June 2023, which is welcomed. This will continue to support people at the end-of-life and their families, who face additional energy costs because of the need to keep the house warm and run essential medical equipment.
Although this is a positive move, we know many households where somebody is receiving palliative or end-of-life care will be concerned about coping with additional costs when this comes to an end in June. We will continue to call for the Government to consider a long-term, targeted solutions to support people at the end-of-life and their families.
Spring Budget 2023
For more detail, you can read the full Spring Budget 2023, which the Government has issued today.
Our Influencing team lobbies to improve palliative, neurological and bereavement support.