Responding to the publication of the Government’s adult social care reform white paper, People at the Heart of Care, Hugh Alderwick, Head of Policy at the Health Foundation, said:
‘Today’s white paper paints a positive picture of what social care could look like in the future but falls well short of what is needed to deliver the prime minister’s promise to ‘fix’ social care once and for all.
‘A vision for social care in the future will feel like hollow words, without the money to deliver it. The funding provided by government for social care over the coming years is barely enough to meet growing demand for care —let alone improve and expand the system and provide care to more people who need it. While there are some welcome initiatives, such as developing a mix of housing options to help people live independently, they are a drop in the ocean given the challenges facing people using and providing care. The white paper’s aim to improve terms and conditions for social care staff is positive, but there is no extra funding to achieve it.
‘Beyond the money to cover the new cap on care costs, just £1.7bn of extra funding from the health and care levy will go towards the social care system over the next three years. This will do nothing to tackle the high levels of unmet need, persistent workforce shortages and recruitment difficulties, and the precarious position facing many care providers. To meet these challenges, we estimate that additional funding of around £7.6bn in 2022/23 is needed, rising to £9.0bn in 2024/25, over and above that provided for in the Spending Review.
‘While reforms to protect people from catastrophic care costs are broadly welcome, recent last-minute changes are a backward step, making the reforms less generous and less fair for people with low and moderate levels of wealth. This is the opposite of levelling up.
‘The adult social care system in England has been scarred by decades of political neglect and underfunding. The impacts of this neglect are clear: many people go without the care they need, pay and working conditions are poor, and reliance on unpaid carers is high. Today’s white paper does little to change this picture.’
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