As the Conservative Party’s leadership contest gets underway, the National Care Forum (NCF) is calling on the contenders to put social care at the very centre of their policy agendas and to reaffirm their commitment to its reform.
The entire sector has been watching the leadership race with increasing concern as those vying for the top position compete to show that they are willing to cut taxation, and in particular, the recent NI increase, better known as the health and social care levy. The levy is the proposed funding mechanism for this government’s urgent social care reforms and yet there has been silence on how these reforms will be funded if the levy is cancelled.
The not for profit sector is calling for a greater share of the levy, not less, to allow the plans of reform to be met. The government’s reform plans include a cap on care costs, a fair price for social care providers, the ability for those who fund their own care to pay at the local authority fair price for care rates (which is now planned to be phased in over 18 months from October 2023), and greater investment in the workforce and innovation. Our members want to see a greater commitment from government to enabling and funding better pay, terms and conditions for the workforce, alongside a dedicated workforce plan.
Professor Vic Rayner OBE, CEO of the NCF said:
“Those responsible for the commissioning and delivery of care, alongside those receiving care and support need answers now.
“We need a leader that commits to reform, commits to address the chronic underfunding and fragility of the sector and most of all commits to own this golden opportunity to co-design a social care system for the future that all can hold in the highest regard.
“Social care is a public service and those who receive care and work in care expect a leader who sweats the hard stuff. The next Prime Minister would do well to remember that social care matters to us all.”
Dan Ryan, Acting Chief Executive at MHA the UK’s largest charity care provider, said: ‘Social care matters to every one of us. MHA’s public polling has shown that two thirds of people think social care should be a priority for the government, following the pandemic. But almost half the people we spoke to felt the government wasn’t concerned enough about the needs of older people. Now, the Conservative party leadership contest offers the chance for candidates to put this right, and to set out their offer for older people.
‘The social care system is not yet fixed, with a workforce in crisis and half a million people waiting for care according to ADASS (Association of Directors of Adult Social Services). The current Government’s reforms are ambitious and wide-ranging, but without real commitment and leadership, risk failing the people who need them most.
‘Good quality social care is a lifeline for millions of people across the country, and we are calling on the remaining candidates in the leadership race to ensure that it remains a priority. Older people cannot afford to see the long awaited reform of social care become sidelined.