The social care system is under unsustainable strain
How should this be addressed?
There is an urgent need for more funding both now and in the future to ensure people are properly looked after.
Too many people are being left without the care and support they need.
'We talk about the typical cost of dementia care being about £100,000. At the moment, too often people end up paying all of that, if not more. We need to move to a point where the balance of responsibility is clearer, is more obvious to people, but is also fairer between the individual and the state.'
'For disabled people, the care system is there to be the bedrock of support that allows them to be independent, to participate in family life, to contribute to the community, to work and to volunteer—all those things.'
Two Committees - Health and Social Care and the Housing Communities and Local Government Committees - have come together to recommend a way forward for social care.
The report identifies 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
Personal care for all
The personal care element of social care, such as help with washing, dressing and eating, should eventually be delivered free to everyone who needs it, although accommodation costs should continue to be paid on a means-tested basis.
Recognising that this is unlikely to be affordable immediately, this should begin by extending free personal care to people deemed to have 'critical' needs.
Extra funds will also need to be raised to extend the care to those with moderate needs as well as those with substantial and critical needs and to provide sufficient resources to ensure the stability of the workforce and financial viability of care providers.
Social Care Premium
Funding should be raised through 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.
To ensure fairness between the generations, the premium should only be paid by those aged over 40 and extended to those over the age of 65, with the money being held in an independent, dedicated and audited fund to help gain public trust and acceptance for the measure.
Further funding reforms outlined in the report include
- Levying an extra amount of Inheritance Tax on estates valued above a certain threshold and capped at a percentage of the total value.
- Reform of council tax valuations and bands.
- Enabling local authorities to use new funding from additional business rates retention in 2020 to fund social care rather than as a replacement of grants from the Government.
The Government has two months to respond to our report.
Read our report: here - House of Commons Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee and Health and Social Care Committee
Find out more about our inquiry on our website.