Care England, the largest representative body for independent providers of social care, has welcomed the report from the joint inquiry by the Health Select Committee and the Housing, Communities and Local Government Select Committee into the long term funding of adult social care.
The joint report calls for the introduction of a ‘Social Care Premium’, either as an additional element of National Insurance, or with the premium paid into dedicated not-for-profit social insurance fund that people would be confident could only be used for social care. It describes the social care system as “under very great and unsustainable strain”. Ahead of the Government’s Green Paper, which is now expected in the autumn, it highlights the urgent need to plug a funding gap estimated at up to £2.5 billion in the next financial year, before introducing wider funding reforms at both a local and national level to raise extra revenue with a long-term aspiration of providing social care free at the point of delivery.
Professor Martin Green OBE, Chief Executive of Care England, who was summoned to give evidence to the inquiry where he reiterated the sector’s calls for fairer funding, says:
“The inquiry identifies the substantial funding gap and recognises that it needs to be made up now with an immediate cash injection. If the Government can find the funds for the NHS, we believe that social care should have an equal opportunity. Given the intrinsic link between health and social care it is nonsensical to resource one without the other”.
The report is based on six principles for funding social care that the Committees recommend should underpin the development of social care policy.
· Providing high quality care
· Considering working age adults as well as older people
· Ensuring fairness on the ‘who and how’ we pay for social care, including between the generations
· Aspiring over time towards universal access to personal care free at the point of delivery
· Risk pooling - protecting people from catastrophic costs, and protecting a greater portion of their savings and assets
· ‘Earmarking’ of contributions to maintain public support.
Professor Martin Green continues:
“The inquiry identifies a number of very helpful long term solutions, but even if enacted they will not deliver soon enough to stop crisis and closures of care homes across the country. We hope that the Government will embrace the urgency of the present moment and press ahead with all the necessary partners to provide urgent support to a sector that is struggling”.