Next week’s Budget must include a once in a lifetime moment for the care of older and vulnerable people, care providers said today.
They are urging the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, to take the bold step of tackling social care in his speech on Wednesday.
Provider organisation The Independent Care Group (ICG) says extra funding for the sector would tackle the crisis in care which has left 1.4m people without the care they need.
ICG Chair Mike Padgham said: “The Budget offers Rishi Sunak the opportunity to be bold and to go down in history as the Chancellor who finally began to tackle the crisis in social care.
“Covid-19 exposed a care sector in crisis and a terrible price was paid. Now, as we emerge from the pandemic, the social care sector must be the first to get the reform and help it needs to recover.”
The ICG says the Chancellor could begin by getting more funds to local authorities to help them fund social care. And he could make social care zero-rated for VAT, helping hard-pressed care providers, who are struggling for financial survival during the pandemic.
“We are seeing suggestions that Mr Sunak plans a giveaway Budget on Wednesday,” Mr Padgham added. “We would argue that the country doesn’t need giveaways, it needs positive action on the care of our most vulnerable and it needs it now.
“After the Second World War, Nye Bevan set about establishing proper healthcare for the country, as part of our recovery from conflict. This Government must give social care its Nye Bevan moment and make the full, root and branch reform and better funding of social care part of its recovery from Covid-19 and that can and must start on Wednesday.”
The ICG is calling on the Government to carry out total root and branch reform of the social care sector to bring it and the staff who work in it parity with NHS care.
Amongst other things, the ICG wants to see NHS health care and social care merged and managed either locally or nationally; extra funding for social care, funded by taxation or National Insurance; a properly costed national rate for care fees and a proper salary and career pathway to recognise and reward social care staff.
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