Social care plan lacks sufficient funding to make a difference to people’s lives

Britain’s biggest pensioner organisation, the National Pensioners Convention (NPC) has described the government’s plan to reform social care funding as “about as credible as a Findus Lasagne” because it lacks sufficient funding to tackle the problems that pensioners face.
Dot Gibson, NPC general secretary said: “The social care system needs urgent and radical reform, but these proposals simply tinker at the edges. The current system is dogged by means-testing, a postcode lottery of charges, a rationing of services and poor standards and nothing in the plan looks like it will address any of these concerns. Setting a lifetime cap on care costs of £75,000 will help just 10% of those needing care, whilst the majority will be left to struggle on with a third rate service. The government needs to be much braver and bolder if it is really going to sort out the problems – otherwise in a few years’ time we’ll be back again having another look at the issue. Using inheritance tax or money saved from the state pension system simply won’t raise enough money to bring about the change that’s needed. It’s time we merged health and social care and had a truly integrated system which was funded through general taxation – like the NHS – rather than put all the responsibility on pensioners and their families. Getting older and needing care isn’t a lifestyle choice – so why should the cost of care not be shared by society as a whole? Frankly, the plan as it stands is about as credible as a Findus Lasagne.”
A detailed briefing paper on the Government’s proposals can be downloaded here.

NPC research entitled The Politics of Care, has analysed the issues facing existing and future generations and found:

  • An unfair postcode lottery of charges for care at home
  • Inadequate standards of care in both nursing and domiciliary care and a lack of robust and effective regulation
  • Lack of adequate training and qualifications amongst care staff, linked to poor terms and conditions
  • Little support for family carers, leading to inadvertent neglect
  • A false separation between NHS funded medical care and means-tested social care, which has removed thousands of frail elderly people from receiving free care

In financial terms the NPC has calculated that an additional £10bn would be needed in order to support a National Care Service. This additional revenue could be funded through a combination of savings from other areas of care expenditure, re-prioritising existing government expenditure and/or increasing taxation. If all the money were to be raised through taxation alone, someone earning £25,000 a year would be expected to pay an extra 75p a day. This figure would be even less if National Insurance and/or Inheritance Tax was used as well.

In return, A National Care Service would provide:

  • Free domiciliary and nursing care
  • Access to services to a wider group of people, including those with low to moderate needs who are currently excluded
  • Improved terms and conditions for care staff
  • A programme of modernisation of residential homes
  • Improved regulation and monitoring of care services
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