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Care Bill Will Change Lives – But The Government Must Go Further

More than a quarter of a million older and disabled people who need support for day-to-day tasks, and the families who care for them, won’t see the benefits of the Government’s welcome overhaul of social care, because of a plan to tightly ration who gets support.

The figures come from new analysis of London School of Economics (LSE) research by the Care and Support Alliance, which represents 75 leading organisations and charities.

The CSA describes the Care Bill as a ‘real achievement’.

But as Lords debate the bill, the CSA is now urging the Government to be ‘bold’ and ensure its vision of social care becomes a reality for everyone by re-thinking its plans for eligibility and putting in place the funding to make it happen.

The call comes ahead of a week parliamentary events and social media action.

Parliament is debating moves to create a new system that ends the postcode lottery and caps the cost of care at £72,000.

It follows evidence that cash-strapped councils are squeezing the number of people eligible for care and rationing support for those still in the system.

Recently the CSA welcomed a series of positive amendments to the Care Bill, which further improve the system.

But the coalition of charities will now tell MPs and Lords that they now need to make sure as many people as possible see the benefits of the changes.

Outside of these parliamentary debates, the government is planning to restrict the number of people in the system.

Documents reveal that the Department of Health intends to set the national threshold (p6) for who’s in and who’s out of the system at the higher ‘substantial’ level that many councils have recently moved to.

According to new analysis of research conducted by the London School of Economics[i], setting the threshold at this level means approximately 362,000 older and disabled people will not receive any support from their council (see below for details). They will have to pay for their own care without their costs being capped.

There are people – misleadingly described as having ‘moderate needs’ – who are unable to undertake several aspects of personal care, or of work, education or training.

The new analysis of the research by LSE suggests the system is under-funded by £2.8bn[ii].

Eligibility is inextricably linked to spending decisions. The CSA argues that a lower threshold also makes economic sense (see below).

Richard Hawkes, chair of the Care and Support Alliance, says:

“The social care system is on its knees. Older and disabled people are telling us they’re simply not getting the support they need to get up, get washed and dressed, and live independently. Cash-strapped councils are rationing support.

“The Care Bill is the first attempt for generations to radically overhaul the creaking system. The Government has put forward bold proposals to bring social care into the 21 century. It’s a real achievement.

“Now the Government needs to have the courage to see its plans through. It needs to keep going, keep building, and keep listening.

“It’s becoming clear that a huge number of people that need support will not see any of the benefits of the new system.

“Plans to tightly restrict who gets council care mean more than a quarter of a million people may have to find their own support without any protection from spiralling costs.

“Ultimately we want the bill to genuinely promote prevention – rather than crisis care.

“The CSA wants the Government to set the bar for who gets and who doesn’t get council support at a level that includes everyone who needs support live independently.

“Hand-in-hand with this decision has to be a commitment to properly fund the social care system. Councils continue to say that they simply don’t have the resources they need.”

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