Make Care Top Priority, Campaigners Tell New Govt

Campaigners have called on Prime Minister Boris Johnson to make social care his top domestic priority as he takes the keys to number 10 after yesterday’s election.

The Independent Care Group (ICG) says the 1.5m older and vulnerable people living without the care they need deserve urgent action.

The Group’s Chair, Mike Padgham said: “We congratulate Boris Johnson on his victory yesterday and now urge him to make good on his pledge to tackle social care as a matter of urgency.

“Mr Johnson said that social care would be one of the things the Government tackled within the first 100 days of taking office, well now we want to see that delivered and we want to see it at the top of the list.

“You now have a majority, Mr Johnson, you now have the time to get social care done, no more excuses, no more delays – 15m people living without care need action now. Move social care to the top of your priority list and get it done.”

The ICG says social care is in crisis, with care homes closing and homecare providers handing back untenable contracts. Some 1.5m people are living with an unmet care need.

It argues that almost £8bn has been cut from social care budgets since 2010-11 and the new government must act to reverse that decline.

“We have heard the promises and heard the pledges, now we have to see action on social care and the people of this country will be holding the new government to account,” Mr Padgham added.

Before the election, the ICG issued its own social care manifesto calling for firm pledges to tackle social care and commit to investing more in the sector.

It called for the next government to get more money into social care to halt the crisis.

It wants a guarantee that people receiving publicly-funded care can receive it in their own home or close to where they live so that they remain in their own, familiar, communities.

The ICG called for better funding of social care, through taxation or National Insurance and for social care and NHS care to be merged and managed centrally or locally.

The ICG suggested that a fixed percentage of GDP should be spent on social care, that dementia should be regarded as a health issue, like cancer or heart disease, that there should be  a cap on social care costs, including ‘hotel’ charges and that people should be encouraged to save for their own care, as they do for a pension.

It also called for measures to improve the standing of care staff to improve recruitment, including a minimum wage for social care workers, above the National Living Wage and more nurse training and bursaries to encourage recruitment and help end the shortage of nurses in care.

The ICG also wants to see a minimum, agreed level of care fees, social care businesses to be zero-rated for VAT so that they can claim it back, as other business sectors do and the Care Quality Commission to have much greater powers to oversee all commissioning practices such as per-minute billing and 15-minute visits.