Busy Bees founder calls for adult social care vouchers

Busy Bees founder John Woodward

The boss of the UK’s largest childcare provider, Busy Bees, says a voucher system could fill the adult social care sector’s funding gap.

John Woodward, one of the driving forces behind the introduction of childcare vouchers in 2005, has been campaigning for the introduction of a similar scheme in adult social care since January 2017 and has pitched his idea to the Treasury ahead of the government’s Green Paper.

“This Green Paper acknowledges that adult social care is an extremely pressing issue, one that has been largely neglected over many years,” John said.

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John said the current funding system where the majority of money goes into the private sector from families’ pockets was unsustainable and left 1.4m people without the funding they required.

“What is needed is not a continuation of the current system of a small number controlling the majority; we should be allowing the people using care services to decide how to use their money,” John said.

“It’s blindingly obvious that the individual should be the focus. I hope that the worry about change does not undermine the necessary ambition required to end the social care funding crisis and we hope to see radical reforms suggested in the government’s Green Paper.”

Since their introduction, childcare vouchers have helped more than 600,000 families and John believes a similar salary funded scheme could work in social care.

Adult social care vouchers would allow eligible tax payers to sacrifice a portion of their salary before tax deductions – which dependent on income could be up to £100 per week to fund either their own or a dependant adult’s care. The vouchers could be flexibly accrued or deducted and if needed would allow multiple tax payers to contribute to a single individual’s care.

Recent Age UK commissioned research highlighted that England continues to lag behind other developed nations in terms social care funding (England the poor relation in elderly care).

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