Age UK & CSA response to PM's Social Care reform announcement
Published on 07 September 2021 02:12 PM
Age UK & CSA statement in response to social care plans announced by PM today (7 September)
Caroline Abrahams, co-Chair of the Care and Support Alliance and Charity Director of Age UK, said:
"Our initial assessment is that while the Prime Minister’s announcement doesn't give us everything we wanted and we are worried about the funding, it is definitely worth having and a once in a generation opportunity to improve social care that must not be allowed to slip away.
“At last there’s some hope for a better future and we all stand to gain, since any of us, at any age, could develop a need for care.
"If the Prime Minister’s proposals are put into action he will deserve real credit for breaking a log jam that has held back social care reform for far too long. The intense debate about how to pay for it must not obscure the paramount importance of action being taken now to stabilise and rebuild care, especially after its terrible mauling by COVID-19.
“At £86,000 the cap provides some much needed certainty and removes the fear of care bills spiralling to infinity, though at that level it will help fewer people than many had hoped. A more generous means test is arguably the more significant announcement for most and will result in greater numbers receiving at least some financial help. However, there is a lot of devil in the detail which we need to understand before reaching a final judgement.
“The NHS is being given extra funding upfront and social care desperately needs that too. Unless the Chancellor delivers substantially more investment into councils' budgets in the autumn Spending Review there’s a real risk that the Prime Minister’s announcement will fall flat.
“The proposals are broader than many expected and some of the non-cap elements that will be fleshed out later this year have exciting potential to increase the quality and quantity of care on offer to older and disabled people, and their families caring for them, as well as how joined up it is with the NHS, of great importance to many frail older people in particular. We look forward to hearing more.
“It’s good to see serious investment in workforce training – though we doubt this will prevent disillusioned staff from continuing to drift away for better paid jobs elsewhere. On the care workforce we wanted the Government to go further and do more to improve terms and conditions.”
Age UK responds to triple lock suspension
“If suspending the triple lock for a single year helps get a Government deal on social care over the line then I believe it’s a price worth paying, but only if it really is just a one-off measure and not a sneaky way for Ministers to ditch the triple lock altogether.”