A top Government minister has promised to look into issues raised by a leading figure in social care, following a meeting.
Mike Padgham met Business Secretary Vince Cable to discuss how the Government might provide greater support to businesses caring for older and vulnerable people.
Mr Padgham, who is chair of the Independent Care Group (York and North Yorkshire), told the minister that social care deserved better support due to the contribution it makes to the care of older people and its £20bn contribution to the UK economy.
As a result, Mr Cable has promised to:
- Look into why banks are nervous about investing in social care businesses
- Discuss with the Treasury the issue of social care and VAT
- Write to Care Minister Norman Lamb about social care issues.
After the meeting, Mr Padgham said: “It was an excellent opportunity to raise many issues that affect social care and have a minister at a senior level in Government listen to those issues.
“Mr Cable was very understanding and sympathetic and did promise to take up some of the things we discussed, so it has been a very worthwhile exercise.
“We need to get greater support for social care for the sake of the many, many people who need it to live a full and active life and the many others who work in the sector.”
Mr Padgham told the minister that social care is used by more than 1.8m people. There are almost 20,500 registered care homes, nursing homes and residential homes in the UK. More than 200,000 people aged over 65 are in residential care funded by their council or the NHS.
In 2011-12 some 517,000 adults received home care, adding up to a total of 188m hours in a market worth £5.5bn
In North Yorkshire alone there are 258 registered care and nursing homes providing a total of 7,041 beds. In York there are 33 care and nursing homes providing 1,270 beds.
Conservative estimates from a Skills for Care report suggest that the sector directly contributes around £20bn to the English economy, more than, for example, the production and distribution of electricity and gas (£16bn) or the food and drink service industry (£19bn).
The adult social care sector provides 1.7m jobs – 6.4% of the total workforce in England and more than the NHS (1.5m) or the transportation, storage and postal industry at 1.1m.
The value of the care market in North Yorkshire is around £220m and it employs at least 10,670 people – one of the highest proportions in the country.
By 2026, an additional 1.7 million adults in England will have care and support needs.
Social care businesses are charged VAT for the goods and services they buy but cannot charge VAT themselves and so, unlike other businesses, cannot offset their VAT bill.