Care leaders have welcomed reports that the government will raise national insurance to pay for social care.
The Telegraph reported on Friday that Downing Street supports a 1% rise in the national insurance rate, while the Treasury favours a 1.25% hike.
Meanwhile, a source close to Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid told the BBC reports in The Times that he favours a 2% rise are inaccurate and that he supports a lower figure.
Justice Secretary Robert Buckland told BBC Breakfast: “The British public are sensible enough to know that when it comes to social care we have to find some way of funding it.”
Independent Care Group Chair, Mike Padgham, welcomed the developments as “positive news” and an “indication that social care reform could at last be on the way”.
Padgham stressed that funding must only be the “very start of reform” which “would have to tackle the staffing issue and ensure we create a sector which is properly rewarding to those working in it”.
Social Care Institute for Excellence chief executive Kathryn Smith also welcomed the news but warned that improvements would only come with a long-term strategy.
“We should be thinking about how to scale up the innovation we’re seeing in some places, and how to develop a passionate workforce with the right skills and flexibility,” Smith said.
“We hear again and again from people who draw on services about the importance of person-centred care; the sort of care and support we would want for our own loved ones. This outcome must be key to any plans for care reform.”
Prof Martin Green, CEO, Care England, said: “We look forward to seeing the Prime Minister‘s plans for reform of adult social care. These have been a long time coming and it is essential that social care is recognised, rewarded and sustained. It is such a vital part of the economy and of course donation.”
Rachel Harrison, GMB National Officer, said new investment must include “ring-fenced cash to improve the pay, terms and conditions of carers to reflect the skilled and valued job they do.”
“The largely women workforce in social care deserve no less than £15 an hour,” Harrison said. “Government and bosses must make this a priority.”
The National Care Forum reissued its ambitions for the social care of the future, which have been formed through widespread engagement with members, and detailed research and learning from the experience of the social care sector throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
Vic Rayner, CEO of the National Care Forum, said reform must “move beyond the narrow focus on capping costs”, adding: “The wait for social care reform has been far too long. We owe it to everyone who receives care and support now and will need it in the future to have a social care system that can be a source of individual and national pride.
“To get there we need an ambitious reform agenda with people at the heart of it and underpinned by sustainability, innovation and investment in the incredible workforce. The Government must act now to prioritise social care.”