Prime Minister Boris Johnson has won MPs’ backing for a 1.25% rise in national insurance to fund health and social care.
MPs yesterday voted by 319 to 248 to support the plans. Opposition parties and five Conservatives voted against the move with 37 Tory MPs abstaining.
Tory MP Jake Berry accused the PM of “throwing other people’s money down a bottomless pit” and Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves argued people would still need to sell their home to pay for their care despite the plan’s £86,000 costs cap.
The plans have been met with a mixed response from social care leaders.
Nadra Ahmed OBE, Executive Chairman of the National Care Association, said the plans felt “very much like an NHS recover plan under the guise of ‘fix social care’ “, with the bulk of funds going to clearing hospital backlogs.
“Let’s not be under any illusion that social care will be the beneficiary of the monies raised as it is abundantly clear that only less than one sixth of any money raised will be used to support our workforce, our services and ultimately the vulnerable people we care for,” Ahmed said.
“This plan can only be seen as the start of a dialogue about ‘fixing social care’, it cannot be assumed to be the template.”
Guild Care CEO, Alex Brooks-Johnson, welcomed progress on social care reform but said it needed to go further.
“The cap on personal funding of social care is a big relief for people, I’m sure, but the big question is whether the local authority will be provided with the means to pay for the true cost of care,” Alex said.
“If more people are state funded in the future, which is the way this reform is heading, then we need to have serious discussions about a fair price for care otherwise quality will become an issue.”
The CEO said the announcement did nothing to address the fact that care workers deserve better pay and recognition “for the professional and critical roles they have in supporting some of the most vulnerable people in society”. Brooks-Johnson explained workers would instead be worse off because of the NI rise.
Michael Voges, Executive Director of ARCO, said the proposals were “a start” but more far reaching reform was needed to meet the requirements of an ageing population.
“The conversation needs to shift urgently to asking what kind of care and lifestyle people actually want and how to best provide it,” Voges said.
Meanwhile, home care providers and associations said yesterday that home care has come out as the “poor relation” to the NHS and the wider social care sector under government proposals to reform the system.