The County Councils Network has warned that social care funding will face a £2.5bn gap by 2019-20. This problem should not surprise anybody, as forecasts over the last several years have predicted this.
There have been few practical suggestions to solve this problem, however a new salary sacrifice scheme similar to childcare vouchers has been proposed as a way to partly fund the future of adult social care.
Currently, there is no obvious and financially viable solution to this problem despite predictions that the issue will continue to worsen.
The alternative adult social care vouchers scheme has been put forward by John Woodward OBE, president and founder of the Busy Bees Group, a leading provider of childcare in the UK.
Both Mr Woodward and the organisation were instrumental in lobbying the government to help working families with childcare costs via a non-taxable benefit. The result was the Childcare Voucher scheme which launched in 2005 which has helped more than 600,000 families.
Similarly, social care vouchers would allow eligible tax payers to sacrifice a portion of their salary – which dependent on income could be up to £100 per week* to fund either their own or a dependant adult’s care. The vouchers could be flexibly accrued or deducted and if needed would allow multiple tax payers to contribute to a single individual’s care.
John said: “The gap between what can be provided by the state and what is required by those who need it most has increased. More funding must be made available as demand increases, but taxpayers cannot bear the entire cost of everyone’s care.
“This new initiative will give families the freedom and flexibility to not only fund care but to boost the quality of support they receive. This is only part of the answer.”
Reflecting on his experience managing salary sacrifice schemes with Busy Bees, John also added: “We’ve proven that this type of option is popular, simple to run, has controlled costs and is rarely defrauded. Vouchers have already proven to work in practice and in this instance would provide long and short-term benefits while keeping the individual in control over all their care choices.”
Mr Woodward is calling for the vouchers scheme to be added to the upcoming social care green paper to encourage debate and discussion of the issue.