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Editor’s Viewpoint: A Merry Christmas and What Will 2017 Bring?

christmas-table-1909796_1920We here at The Carer would like to take this opportunity to wish all our readers a very Merry Christmas and a happy New Year!

We would also like to take this opportunity thank you for all the stories you have provided us with this year – from anniversaries to birthdays, awards, fundraising, to in-depth industry news, we are very grateful and we hope that you will continue to provide them in 2017!

We have been sent some wonderful stories over the Christmas period with homes opening the doors to the homeless and the lonely, schools getting involved in Carol singing and events, sports teams getting involved in visiting homes, real goodwill stories for the festive season.

A few days ago development announced that councils are being given the power to raise tax for social care by six percent over the next two years, as part of £900m of extra money, but critics call it a ‘sticking plaster’ for the care sector’s ills.

Sajid Javid, minister for Department for Communities and Local Government said:

‘Local authorities across England will be able to add a three percent levy to council tax bills in 2017/18 and an extra three per cent in 2018/19.’

In simple terms, council tax payers are picking up the tab. A month before the announcement to raise council tax Chancellor Philip Hammond referred to many people in Britain being “jams”, a political cliche for people/families who are “just about managing”, and who will probably manage that little bit less due to council tax increases.

It was in my opinion, an abdication of responsibility. However, I think Chair of the Independent Care Group, Mike Padgham hit the nail on the head when he said: “The problem is that increasing Council Tax over the next two to three years is not going to solve it – it is merely a sticking plaster, rather than a long-term cure.”.

And what happens after 2019 – will the “jams” be hit with more council tax rises?

The elephant in the room of course, is that we as a nation are simply not preparing ourselves for old age. An article on our website revealed that the British public totally unprepared for financial cost of a care crisis. Nearly three-quarters (72%) of people who expect to need social care will have to make do with whatever they can afford, with just 27% expecting to have financial freedom of choice

Majority feel the state rather than individuals should fund care provision, despite cuts to social care budgets. The plain truth is the state as they are doing in this case go back to the taxpayer.

So I think Jonathan Bruce, Managing Director of Prestige Nursing + Care was very honest and candid and correct when he said; “It is worrying to see that so many people do not know how they will pay for care and that a majority do not want to pay for a carer. The expectation that care is free at the point of use for everyone is understandable, but the reality is that the sector is under severe financial pressure, and more and more people are likely to have to fund care privately without relying on Government support. The inconvenient truth is that, in order to receive the quality of care we all desire, it is becoming increasingly necessary to make a significant contribution towards it.

“It’s equally troubling that so many people say they will be left having to make do with whatever level of care they can afford, as getting the right care makes an enormous difference to a person’s wellbeing. If the model of UK care provision is going to become increasingly reliant on self-funding, it is hugely important that people are made aware of these costs early on and supported to make adequate provisions.

“Good quality care rests on skilled professionals to deliver it, and without sufficient funds, it will be impossible to attract the workers needed to meet the growing demand for staff. There is a skewed sense of value at play when it comes to paying for professional services, and as a society, we also need to reappraise attitudes towards the vital services that care workers provide.”

So it will be very interesting to see what the government will propose next when the sticking plaster solution for the next two years unravels!

Once again all the very best for Christmas and New Year, and I would take this opportunity once again to thank you for all your stories and please sign up for our newsletter!

Peter Adams
Editor of The Carer

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