Cautious Welcome For Social Care Reform Hopes

Care providers have given a cautious welcome to news that reform of social care could be on the way.

Representative body the Independent Care Group (ICG) said it was pleased that care reform seemed to be on the agenda but is waiting to see what is actually announced.

There have been reports that the Government will announce a start to reform, with a cap on care costs, possibly funded by increased National Insurance, to be the first step.

ICG Chair Mike Padgham said: “We would naturally be delighted if the Government announced that it was to begin the reform of social care – we have waited 30 years and currently have 1.5m people not getting the care they need.

“We wait to see what is actually announced but tackling the crippling cost of social care would be a good place to start. It is wrong that people currently end up selling their home to pay for the care they need.

“We have long campaigned for better funding for social care and believe that people would be prepared to pay a little more in taxation or National Insurance, or a combination of both, in return for a properly-funded, fair social care system.

“This might not be the perfect solution to everyone, but we have to make a start and refine as we go along, rather than keep talking.

“At the same time, this can only be the very start of reform and has to be a part of a root and branch overhaul of the system to make it fit for purpose.

“We need proper, sustainable funding, for dementia to be treated as other serious illnesses are, and funded accordingly, and for a proper pay and reward structure for social care staff.

“Capping care costs – however it is done – is only the beginning. A good beginning but just the start.”

The ICG has long campaigned for:

  • A root and branch overhaul of the way social care is planned and funded
  • NHS care and social care to be merged and managed either locally or nationally
  • Extra funding for social care, funded by taxation or National Insurance
  • Dementia treated like other high priority illnesses, like cancer and heart disease
  • A fixed percentage of GDP to be spent on social care
  • Social care businesses to be zero-rated for VAT.