Majority of the Public Support Income Tax Rises to Increase Funding Available for Adult Social Care, UK-wide Poll Finds

If we fail to plan now by continuing to focus on the short-term, the next generation of older people will not have access to care that meets their needs – that is Future Care Capital’s (FCC) view, a national health and adult social care charity, in its latest report Securing the future: planning health and care for every generation. The charity has also commissioned a UK-wide poll through Ipsos MORI to gauge public opinion about preparing for and managing future care needs.

The verdict of FCC’s latest report is clear – there is no long-term plan for health and adult social care and the result is a ‘care deficit’. FCC believes that cross-party consensus in respect of Future Care Guarantees could underpin a new Care Covenant and National Plan for health and care as well as cement the support of the general public. This would offer greater security for everyone in our society.

There are three key themes focused on in the report – intergenerational fairness and the economics of ageing, health and care futures, and planning ahead. FCC invited leaders from the public, private and third sectors to look ahead and consider how policies and spending decisions across Government that impact health and care outcomes could better reflect the challenges and opportunities we can expect to face in the next five, ten and fifteen years – including:

Lord Filkin CBE (Chairman, Centre for Ageing Better):

There should be a national debate about how to pay for adult social care in the future, and a plan which underlines the value of our living longer, to reduce the growing care deficit.

Professor Raymond Hill (President Emeritus, British Pharmacological Society) with Alzheimer’s Research UK:

Whilst progress is being made by those seeking to develop new drugs and treatments for illnesses like dementia, there will be cost implications as and when those efforts bear fruit, which we should plan for now.

Dr Bertie Müller (Senior Lecturer, University of South Wales):

Developments in broad-ranging technologies such as artificial intelligence, robot surgeons, nano implants and automated vehicles are encouraging – some might help us to compress the length of time we live with one or more health conditions, whilst others are expected to facilitate independent living. However, we urgently need to involve the general public in a debate about the ethical implications of such technologies for health and care service provision in future.

The report also calls for a more concerted effort to be made in the short-term to adapt homes and the public realm so that they are ‘designed for age and mobility’, together with recognition of the economic contribution of carers to the overall economy and measures to improve carers’ ‘work-life-care’ balance.

Based upon the developments contributors outlined, FCC recommends such Guarantees include:

A new funding formula

Government will introduce a new funding formula and national entitlements to health and adult social care services that are funded by the state.

Championing independent living

Government will work with industry to introduce and uphold an Independent Living Guarantee enabled by a transformational programme of investment in ‘pre-care’ measures.

Careforce planning

Government will provide leadership and work with education and service providers to build the capacity of the ‘careforce’.

FCC believes greater certainty is needed to assist individuals in planning for their future health and care needs. A key issue is the perceived general lack of understanding and consensus amongst the general public when it comes to the scope of state funded adult social care services and who should pay for them.

FCC worked with Ipsos MORI to explore public opinion in respect of this important policy area. They asked 16-75 year olds across the UK for their views about adult social care and planning for later life.

Key findings:
        • The majority of people say that people should be required to plan ahead – 67% agree that people should be required to plan and prepare financially for later life, whilst 49% agree that they should be required to plan and prepare financially for adult social care services they might require later in life.
        • Half or more of people surveyed support the following income tax rises in order to increase the amount of funding available for adult social care:

The additional rate (from 45p to 50p) – 58% support; 18% oppose

The higher rate (from 40p to 43p) – 57% support; 18% oppose

The basic rate (from 20p to 21p) – 50% support; 25% oppose

        • The UK public regard a focus on the ‘careforce’ as one of the most effective ways to reduce future pressure on the social care system – 76% say that Government increasing the number of health and social care workers would be effective and 71% think that providing greater support for unpaid carers would be effective.

The challenge of providing adult social care flows from our rapidly ageing population. It is important that the Government acts now before care services become increasingly rationed and the quality is impacted. This should be achieved through a cross-party consensus on future health and care provision. Money alone is not the answer, future provision will need to be shaped by a new strategic vision set out in a National Plan. The Government’s forthcoming green paper on adult social care affords it a prime opportunity to act now.

Read FCC’s report, Securing the future: planning health and care for every generationhere.

Dean James CBE, Chief Executive of Future Care Capital, said:

“Public attitudes about adult social care are changing. Our poll shows that the public are willing to contribute more through tax to increase funding available for adult social care. The problem is that future planning is urgently needed now to avoid a cliff edge in health and social care. The contributions in our report all follow a common theme – society is ageing, if we fail to plan for this, the next generation of older people will not have the same access to care.”

 “We need a new settlement for health and care that provides the right services for everyone and recognises the benefits of living longer. A cross-party consensus is required. There should be a Care Covenant – an agreement between the state and the public – which sets out a commitment to support the health and care needs of everyone. Our eight Future Care Guarantees form part of what we believe the Care Covenant should focus on.”

 Lord Filkin CBE, who contributed a chapter on intergenerational fairness and the economics of ageing, said:

“The current picture is one of missed opportunities. There is no defined plan for adult social care and how to address the pace of increased demand, nor to develop the breadth of services that will be needed. There is also no consensus on who should pay for what, and we need an informed debate about the increased funding that will be needed for a good later life. Over the next decade we will need to spend substantially more on health and social care – this should not be a crisis but the necessary price for the benefits of our longer lives.”

“We need to move the discourse from one which is mostly about the costs of a larger older population, toward a public debate about the great opportunities of longer lives and how to realise them. It is time that our leaders give voice to this and we need all parts of society – localities, business and the voluntary sector – to recognise ageing as a major societal change with great potential benefits.”