A senior regional care representative is to meet with a top government minister to call for more to be done to support the sector.
Mike Padgham will meet Business Secretary Vince Cable on 18th December to talk about how the Government could provide greater support to businesses and organisations caring for older and vulnerable people.
Mr Padgham, who is chair of the Independent Care Group (York and North Yorkshire), will claim social care deserves better support due to the contribution it makes to the care of older people and its £20bn contribution to the UK economy.
“Greater support for social care is vital for the rapidly growing number of people who need it to live a full and active life and vital for the massive contribution it makes to the UK economy,” he said.
“Investment in social care is an investment in people – people who need care and people who provide care.”
Greater support for social care businesses could start with addressing the VAT anomaly – the situation where care providers are charged VAT but cannot reclaim it.
Mr Padgham will tell 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.
The care group argues that care providers are keen to invest in their businesses to meet this rising demand and to provide higher quality care and to innovate.
Mr Padgham added: “But we need the Government and local authorities to recognise the impact investment in social care could bring, via investment in new provision, building work, jobs and training.”
“Ending this VAT anomaly or at the very least giving providers a time-limited VAT holiday to encourage investment would be one step in the right direction.
“Overall though we need the Government to invest in social care, in the knowledge that that investment will be repaid both in human terms and in a contribution to the economy.”