Caption: Busy Bees co-founder and president John Woodward
Care England, the largest representative body for independent providers of adult social care, has thrown its weight behind a new scheme to help people fund their long-term care.
The initiative is based on the successful Childcare Voucher Scheme, which was developed by Busy Bees in the late 1990s to allow eligible tax payers to sacrifice a capped portion of their salary to pay for childcare.
The proposed solution for adult social care would allow for vouchers to be accrued, if required, and used towards either a dependent relative’s social care and/or the participants own care, when the need arises.
Additionally, the scheme should allow for multiple tax payers to contribute to a single person’s social care, further boosting the funding available for a family with care requirements.
The Adult Social Care Vouchers scheme has been put forward by Busy Bees co-founder and president John Woodward, OBE, who is currently in talks with Cabinet and the Treasury regarding its viability.
It comes from a growing need to bridge the gap between the social care funds provided by the state and what is required by those who need it most.
The current state funding in care is £490.00 per week per adult, but the actual cost to provide a basic level of care is estimated to be in excess of £600.00 per week, per adult. To cover the difference, private self-funded patient costs are being inflated, effectively meaning privately funded adults are paying an additional tax on their own care to accommodate for the gap in state funding for others.
The proposal being put forward is to help narrow this gap, and to increase the amount of funds available.
Care England chief executive Professor Martin Green said: “Social care shouldn’t be seen in a vacuum. It is staggering how much common ground there is whether people are parents, carers, employees or employers.
“The salary sacrifice scheme invented by Busy Bees is an excellent means to make care more affordable alongside other ideas including those involving intergenerational aspects. We need to think global but act local and judge on outcomes and whether it delivers“.
Care England and Busy Bees both share a passion for crafting solutions to the long-term funding of social care and agree on the need for societal solutions in order to bring about change.
Woodward commented: “Our relationship with Care England will help open up options for intergenerational care. Faced with the demographic time bomb we need to have more money going into the system and a salary sacrifice scheme is one means of bring innovation and promoting opening dialogue“.
Cuts to adult social care budgets, combined with an aging population, means that the demand for social care services will continue to increase, and more funding will need to be made available.
According to the National Audit Office, as one in 10 larger local authorities, responsible for adult social care, will have depleted their allocated reserves within the next three years.
For some, like Northamptonshire County Council, it’s too late for intervention, according to Busy Bees. The coffers are empty and adopting the legal-minimum level of service, referred to as the ‘core offer’, is the only viable means of closing its £70 million budget blackhole by next April.