The Government today set out its proposals for funding the adult social care system.
Responding, Helen Walker, Chief Executive of Carers UK, said:
“After so many years of delay and successive governments stepping round the issue we are pleased the Prime Minister has set out his proposals for funding social care today.
On the funding proposals
“Elements of the Government’s plans will, in the longer run, help put some of our crumbling system on a more stable footing. The £86,000 cap on care costs - while far too high for many families - will take the sting out for some older and disabled people with particularly high care costs. Raising the lower capital limit to £20,000 will mean many harder-pressed families do not have to shoulder the full cost of care, but they will not benefit from this until 2023. Raising the £23,500 capital threshold to £100,000 will ensure many more families get some help towards the cost of care.
Short term funding injection for social care needed now
“We understand the NHS needs money to tackle waiting lists and this will help family members looking after relatives with worsening health conditions. However, we are deeply concerned about how social care is going to be funded right now in 2021. We desperately need to see funding go to services for families who are struggling to cope so they can get the support they need over the next two years – especially unpaid carers, who are being pushed beyond the brink.
Unpaid carers must be at the heart of reform
“For years carers have been propping up a chronically underfunded care system at a huge cost to their own personal health, finances and ability to stay in work. Throughout the pandemic they carried a huge load, with 81% taking on more care for relatives and 72% unable to take any breaks whatsoever from their caring role. They desperately need support to regain quality of life and enable them to continue caring. The Government must recognise the toll being placed on unpaid carers and deliver an immediate injection of funding for support services to prevent carer breakdown in the short term.
“We look forward to engaging with the Government on the promised White Paper that will look at the information, advice and respite needed by carers. This must come with significant investment in carers’ breaks which are desperately needed.
“Too often, there is a financial penalty for choosing to care for a loved one. This needs to be addressed through a rise in carers' benefits, particularly Carer’s Allowance, and Government must implement their manifesto pledge to introduce Carer’s Leave within the workplace.”
Carers must be included in hospital discharge process
“The £500 million promised by Government for hospital discharge from the end of September is welcome but it must work to ensure that carers are systematically involved, included and supported throughout the process.”