The social care sector has welcomed the House of Lord’s report into social care funding, describing it as a “much needed prompt to government” to finally make social care a “national priority”.
The House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee yesterday called for an extra £8 billion to be spent on fixing an “underfunded” social care system.
The Committee’s report, Social care funding: time to end a national scandal, also urged the government to introduce free personal care, funded by general taxation, over a period of five years.
Commenting on the report, Kate Smith, head of Pensions at Aegon said: “The Lord’s call for greater funding and a basic entitlement to publicly funded personal care provide a much needed prompt to government to start making firm decisions about how to tackle these challenges. It is interesting that the Lords have ruled out an insurance based system, which would be a difficult sell to individuals who will not know in advance whether such a policy will provide them with value.
“While the report adds to the debate as to how to tackle this thorny and politically difficult issue, what is really needed is a firm decision from government which provides people with certainty about what they might be expected to pay towards later life care.”
Vic Rayner, executive director of the National Care Forum said the message is clear for the future Prime Minister – adult social care is “domestic priority number one”.
“The combined voices of local government, providers of care and the workforce, members of the House of Lords, parliamentarians from across the parties and people receiving care and support and their carers demand action now,” she said.
“We have had over two years of waiting for the government to produce a reform document, and these were not years we had to spare. Our approach to reform must now recognise the extreme pressures that all parties are united in their analysis of. To take no immediate action in the face of this evidence as a new Prime Minister will not serve this country well.”
Stephen Lowe, communications director at Just Group, agreed, adding: “This report is evidence that patience is running out with the government on reforming the adult social care system in England.
“Even this won’t solve the financial problem facing families who are still likely to need to meet extra costs in terms of accommodation or aspire to receiving more than the basic level of service provided by the State. The reforms must encourage people to consider future care needs earlier in their working life as part of their overall retirement strategy and to encourage take up of professional financial advice.
UNISON assistant general secretary Christina McAnea said: “With yet another report calling for a significant spending boost for social care, the government must listen and get a grip.
“But it is not just about funding. We also have to be able to find workers prepared to take on the challenge of delivering complex care when they could earn more stacking supermarket shelves.
“A long-awaited green paper has now been delayed six times, despite the ongoing crisis in the sector. Action is needed now before the situation gets any worse.”
George McNamara, director of Policy and Influencing at Independent Age, said government “dithering” and “inaction” has forced social care to “the brink of collapse”.
“Yet again, we are hearing loud and clear about the overwhelming case for making social care a national priority, but tragically no such commitment from the government. A properly funded social care system, free at the point of use, is something that is wholly affordable – it just needs the political will and is the least we should expect in a compassionate society,” he said.