Care leaders have called upon Chancellor Rishi Sunak to “tackle the social care crisis” in tomorrow’s Budget.
Pressure is growing for the Chancellor to offer a long-term support plan after the devastating financial and emotional impact of the coronavirus pandemic which has exposed structural weaknesses in the sector.
Professor Martin Green OBE, CEO of Care England, called for a ten-year plan for adult social care.
Care England’s Budget submission in January highlighted a number of issues impacting the sector, including: the changing costs and operational reality as a result of COVID; the intervention the Treasury can make in the area of insurance; social care’s role as a valuable employer; and the need for a £7bn injection as per the Commons Health and Social Ccommittee’s recommemdation.
Professor Green said: “A ten-year plan akin to that of the NHS would be a great help to the sector, which in turn is part of the national infrastructure. Adult social care needs to be placed at the forefront of future policy planning and cannot remain an addendum to the NHS. Care England wants to work with the Government to ensure that this does not remain a pipedream.”
Independent Care Group (ICG) chair Mike Padgham said Sunak had the chance to “go down in history” as the Chancellor who tackled the social care crisis.
Amongst other things, the ICG wants to see NHS health care and social care merged and managed either locally or nationally; extra funding for social care, funded by taxation or National Insurance; a properly costed national rate for care fees and a proper salary and career pathway to recognise and reward social care staff.
“COVID-19 exposed a care sector in crisis and a terrible price was paid,” Padgham said. “Now, as we emerge from the pandemic, the social care sector must be the first to get the reform and help it needs to recover.”
The Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) said the Chancellor must “must put meeting the needs of older and disabled people, carers and families at the heart of his plans for economic recovery”.
ADASS called for short-term funding as well as a ten-year plan for the sector, including a workforce plan which establishes a social care minimum wage of £10.90.
James Bullion, ADASS president, said: “We want to hear the Chancellor explicitly recognise the potential of adult social care to help drive economic recovery.
“We need more than just another reiteration of the promise that the Government will bring forward plans for social care later this year. Those plans should be a foundation stone of the recovery blueprint.”
Vic Rayner, CEO of the National Care Forum, commented: “Now is the time to act – we are ambitious for social care – and we need this budget to show just how ambitious the Government and the country are for social care too.”