Care providers today gave a cautious welcome to news that the Government is considering an increase in National Insurance to pay for social care reform.
Representative body the Independent Care Group (ICG) said it was pleased that a solution to the social care funding crisis was edging closer.
But it warned that funding was only half the solution and the staffing crisis was the current biggest issue facing providers.
It has been reported that the Government is considering an increase in National Insurance to fund social care in the future.
ICG Chair Mike Padgham said: “This is positive news and an indication that social care reform could at last be on the way.
“Personally, I think an increase in Income Tax might be a fairer way to do it, but no doubt the details will be ironed out in the future.
“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.
“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. At the moment the crisis in social care staffing is at the uppermost of providers’ minds as they struggle to get enough staff to cover their shifts.
“Any reform would have to tackle the staffing issue and ensure we create a sector which is properly rewarding to those working in it.
“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.