Anita Charlesworth, director of research and economics at the Health Foundation, said:
'This report is a further reminder that England’s social care system is beyond patch up and mend, and requires fundamental reform. We welcome the Committee’s acknowledgement that fixing social care will require additional public funding. About 400,000 fewer adults received social care services in 2013/14 than in 2009/10, as local authorities have had to prioritise funding for people with the most severe care needs. Without substantive reform and sustainable funding more vulnerable people will fall through the cracks of the social care system. We agree with the Committee that to ensure a more sustainable system, a new independent body should be established to forecast need and funding requirements.
'An ageing population and increases in the number of younger adults with disabilities is increasing the cost of caring for older and disabled people. Based on current spending in England, a funding gap of at least £6 billion will open up by 2030/31 just to keep pace with growing demand. To improve quality, access or reform the means tested system would widen the funding gap even further.
'There is overwhelming public support for funding reform, with the findings of recent deliberative work carried out by Ipsos Mori showing that most people would prefer a dedicated tax to increase social care funding. But one of the main barriers to change is a lack of public awareness and understanding about how the social care system works. Many people assume social care is free, and it is a major shock when they find out it isn’t and they and their families will have to foot the bill for care costs. There is an urgent need for public education and political collaboration if we are to see progress in this area. Despite the challenges, the government must now step up and take bold and decisive action through its forthcoming green paper.'
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