BASW insists time for Treasury to tackle poverty & address workforce under-investment
As the professional voice of social work and social workers, BASW seeks to proactively engage with all mainstream UK political parties, politicians, and elected governments. We campaign to drive positive change in society and influence what matters in social work.
In advance of the Autumn Statement, the Treasury has invited representations from individuals and organisations on what Ministers should consider prioritising spending on.
As the cost-of-living crisis continues to put pressure on households UK-wide, deepening poverty is an everyday reality for those needing to use social work services. Austerity policies have made the lives of many families and communities harsher and harder and social workers routinely observe the detrimental impact of reduced income, welfare, and state support on people needing services.
BASW aims to support the practice of social workers when working with people living in poverty. With this in mind, we drew upon BASW’s ‘Social Work Stands Against Poverty’ campaign in our submission to the Treasury.
- Extend the debt breathing space scheme
- Freeze evictions during the cost of living crisis to prevent further homelessness
- Scrap the two-child cap on benefits
We also believe it is essential that benefits are uprated in line with inflation. Alongside Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) and others we have called for benefits to be uprated in line with September's inflation rate.
It is already difficult for many to get by on benefits, and the increase in costs without an increase in benefits will only deepen the difficult circumstances that people are in. Last year, the Chancellor did announce that benefits would be uprated in line with inflation and we hope that this commitment is made once again.
We also drew upon BASW positions and campaigns calling for a better supported social work and social care workforce, including improved working conditions and greater investment in services, when forming our case to the Chancellor. Our asks included:
- Funding for adult social care
- Mental health funding
- Redistribution of funding from inpatient units and inappropriate settings to community-based support services for people who are autistic or have learning disabilities
- Investment in the social work workforce, including BASW England’s 80/20 campaign
- Increase the mileage allowance rate
- Restore remote working allowances back to levels seen during the start of the pandemic
- Increase and make more accessible bursaries for students
In BASW’s view, it is more cost-effective to spend now on early intervention, prevention, and tackling workforce recruitment and retention issues than to end up spending more on crisis interventions and seeking to redress an emerging workforce predicament that could be avoided.
The UK Government will not address the issues in social care unless they are prepared to provide it with the long-term funding that it needs, as opposed to short bursts of small funding that do not allow local authorities or services to plan ahead.
We recognise that there is a certain level of fiscal uncertainty, but the human cost of not acting is one that we cannot afford.