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03 December 2014

CHC respond to Autumn Statement and call for funding to be invested in Supporting People Programme

CHC calls for investment in Supporting People

Chancellor George Osborne has announced that there will be an extra £2bn for front line services in the NHS across the UK.

This includes £1.3bn from departmental underspends, of which Wales will receive around 6%, amounting to £123m in total.

Although this funding has been earmarked for the NHS in England, the Welsh Government can choose to spend it as it sees fit. Community Housing Cymru, the membership body for housing associations in Wales, is calling on the additional funding to be invested in the Supporting People Programme Budget.

The Supporting People Programme provides housing-related support to help vulnerable people to live as independently as possible and last year assisted 56,000 people to do just that.

In her Draft Budget in September, Jane Hutt, Minister for Finance, announced a reduction in the Supporting People Budget from £134.4m in 2014/15 to £124m in 2015/16. The Public Accounts Committee has recently called for the Minister to revisit the decision to reduce this budget.

Community Housing Cymru argued at the time that this was a false economy and is again reiterating that investing in the supporting people programme would reduce pressure on already stretched NHS and Social Service budgets.

Stuart Ropke, Group Chief Executive of CHC said: “It would be a false economy to completely invest additional funding in health and not invest in the supporting people programme. Research has shown that every £1 spent on Supporting People saves money by deferring or preventing more costly interventions later down the line, saving more than £2 for every £1 spent.

Stuart added: “It’s been cited by some media reports that if this funding was invested in the NHS, it would be the equivalent of keeping the health service going for less than a week. But last year, the Supporting People programme budget was £134m and that helped 56,000 people to remain living independently at home, reducing pressure on the NHS and social services.”

“We believe that Welsh Government has a great opportunity to further invest in this preventative programme which will bring about savings in the long run and we will continue to make this argument to Welsh Government along with members and partner organisations.”