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Social care needs ‘immediate’ £8bn investment, urges Lords Committee

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The House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee has repeated its call for an immediate £8bn investment in social care, in order to raise care quality and access to pre-austerity levels.

In a letter to Minister of State for Care, Helen Whately, Lord Forsyth, Chairman of the Economic Affairs Committee, called on the government to implement the most urgent recommendations in the Committee’s July 2019 report, Social care funding: time to end a national scandal.

Lord Forsyth warns that “without the necessary upfront investment, the gap between funding and need will continue to widen dangerously, the pressure on unpaid carers and local authorities will increase, and the most vulnerable in society will suffer as a result”.

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The committee chairman added: “Furthermore, there is no reason why action should not be taken now to provide higher pay to care workers in publicly funded care providers, as we recommended.”

Lord Forsyth’s letter came as Sir Andrew Dilnot called for the capping of care costs at £45,000 in England while submitting evidence to the House of Commons Health and Social Care Committee yesterday. The committee is carrying out an inquiry into funding social care and its workforce.

The economist, who has previously suggested a care cap of £35,000 as a government advisor, said there would be an additional £8,000 annual cap on the ‘hotel costs’ of living in a care home, which would cost around £3.1bn a year.

A DHSC spokesperson said: “We recognise the challenges facing the social care sector and we are doing everything that we can to support it.

“We have set out a comprehensive action plan to support the sector in England throughout the coronavirus outbreak and will bring forward a plan that puts social care on a sustainable footing to ensure the reforms will last long into the future.”

Last month, Lord Forsyth accused Health and Social Care Matt Hancock of breaching parliamentary convention by failing to respond to the committee’s report.

He said the government is accountable directly to Parliament and it has a “duty and responsibility” to reply to Committee reports in a timely way, usually within two months.

“You said previously that the Department would not be able to meet the usual deadline, but you must agree that 11 months is not only an inordinate amount of time for us to wait but is a breach of parliamentary convention,” he said in a letter to Hancock.

Tags : FundingHouse of Lords Economic Affairs CommitteeLord Forsyth
Sarah Clarke

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