MPs call for £7bn annual increase in social care funding as a starting point for reform – doing nothing ‘no longer an option’
22 October 2020
The Health and Social Care Committee is calling for urgent and sustained investment in social care to resolve the crisis in funding, exposed by the Covid-19 pandemic.
- Report: Social care: funding and workforce [PDF 590KB]
- Inquiry: Social care: funding and workforce
- Health and Social Care Committee
Its report, Social Care: Funding and Workforce, calls for an immediate increase to avoid the risk of market collapse. The headline £7bn figure however is a starting point and would not address the growing problem of unmet need nor improve access to care, with the full cost of adequate funding likely to run to tens of billions of pounds. MPs recognise these substantial increases come at a time of severe financial pressure however the gravity of the crisis facing the social care sector demands this response.
The Report backs the introduction of a lifetime cap to protect against catastrophic care costs as originally proposed by the Dilnot Commission and endorses further consideration of free personal care. The current means-tested system is described as unfair, confusing, demeaning and “frightening for the most vulnerable people in our society, and their families”.
Action must be taken to improve the pay and recognition given to social care workers, establishing a clear career path that is more effectively aligned with the NHS. Transitional arrangements must be put in place to ensure the recruitment of social care workers from overseas for as long as is necessary.
Health and Social Care Committee Chair Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP said:
“The pandemic has held up in lights the brilliant and brave work done by the social care workforce - but the real thank you they want is not a weekly clap but a long term plan for the crisis in their sector.
In this report we look at one element of that, namely the funding pressures, and conclude that the government must use the spending review to raise the annual adult social care budget by £7bn by the end of the parliament as the starting point for a wider series of reforms. Whilst that is a significant sum, it would not increase access or quality of care.
However it would meet demographic and wage pressures as well as meet the catastrophic care costs faced by people with dementia or other neurological conditions. To address wider issues the sector needs a 10-year plan and a people plan just like the NHS. Without such a plan, words about parity of esteem will be hollow. We owe it to both the staff and families devastated by loss to make this a moment of real change.”