Sajid Javid has said people should lean on their families and communities first for social care support, before they turn to the state.
The Health and Social Care Secretary made the comments during a speech at the Conservative Party Conference on Tuesday.
He said health and social care “begins at home”, adding: “The state was needed in this pandemic more than anytime in peacetime. But government shouldn’t own all risks and responsibilities in life. We as citizens have to take some responsibility for our health too. We shouldn’t always go first to the state. What kind of society would that be?”
He continued: “Family first, then community, then the state. If you do need support, we live in a compassionate, developed country that can afford to help with that.”
Responding to the speech, Raina Summerson, CEO of Agincare said Javid’s comments were “insensitive”.
She said in a Tweet: “Think carer numbers show that plenty of people are relying on family before and during having any state support. And what about the increasing numbers of people ageing without children? More insensitive and ill-judged comments from our government on social care.”
The speech came after the government announced a 1.25% rise in national insurance to fund social care as part of a long-delayed plan to reform the system.
The Prime Minister told MPs this will raise almost £36bn over the next three years, with money from the levy going directly to the frontline.
Of this, £30.6 billion will go to the NHS to help tackle waiting lists. This means that only £5.4 billion will be available for social care and just a proportion will be used to fund home care.