A senior regional care advocate is to hold his second top-level meeting with a Government minister in a matter of weeks to press for more help for a sector that looks after the country’s most vulnerable people.
Mike Padgham is to meet Care and Support Minister Norman Lamb on Monday (24th February) and urge him to provide some practical support for social care providers who are struggling in the economic downturn.
This follows on from Mr Padgham’s meeting with Business Secretary Vince Cable in December when he made a case for greater sector support based on the contribution social care makes to the economy.
Mr Padgham, who is chair of the Independent Care Group (York and North Yorkshire), will call on Mr Lamb to provide practical measures that would help the sector in the short term:
- Address the VAT anomaly which prevents social care providers from reclaiming VAT, unlike other businesses.
- Allow providers to spread the fee they pay to their regulatory body, the Care Quality Commission, across direct debit installments instead of in one large payment running to thousands of pounds
- Introduce a grant scheme which would allow providers to invest more in improvements to provide greater dignity and privacy for clients and training for staff.
Mr Padgham said: “This is an excellent opportunity to meet the minister and to press for greater support and in particular for some practical measures that could make a real difference for care providers.
“The Minister knows the challenges social care is facing at the moment, namely rapidly rising demand for care being hampered by a lack of funding in the sector.
“What I want to put across are some small, practical measures that could be easily achieved.”
The meeting with Mr Lamb has been facilitated by Scarborough and Whitby MP Robert Goodwill.
Social care has been hit particularly hard during the economic downturn, with local authorities cutting more than £2.7bn from their budgets and another billion in cuts on the way. This has meant fewer people receiving care and a squeeze on providers, with some going out of business.
Demand for ever more complex care continues to rise steeply and Government and inspectors expect that care to be of a higher and higher quality.
Mr Padgham will tell the minister that social care deserves to be better funded because of the huge social and economic contribution it makes.
In December he told Mr Cable that social care is used by more than 1.8m people and that the sector directly contributes around £20bn to the English economy.