The House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee has called on the government to end social care reform delays.
In a letter to Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, the committee highlights the desperate need of the social care sector for help and the recommendations of its 2019 report, ‘Social care funding, time to end a national scandal’.
The letter from Lord Forsyth of Drumlean, Chair of the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee, states: “The urgent and tragic circumstances affecting the sector have magnified the differences between the NHS and social care. Moreover, they demonstrate that there can be no justification for any more delay to putting social care on a sustainable footing; both for those who rely on it and for those who serve it.”
In his evidence to the committee last week, the Chancellor cited the absence of a consensus over funding as a significant barrier to reform, along with its expense.
Lord Forsyth responds: “Our report, and the evidence that underpins it, demonstrates that that consensus does exist, and that it is acknowledged by all sides that any system that is fit for purpose will entail significant expenditure.”
The committee’s report made a series of recommendations, including the introduction of free personal care to help align social care with NHS entitlement, with people in care homes still paying for their accommodation.
Lord Forsyth said the move, which would cost £7bn, according to the Health Foundation and the King’s Fund, was only £2bn more expensive than the government’s 2017 ‘cap and floor’ proposal.
The report says additional social care funding should come from general taxation and be distributed to local authorities according to a fair funding formula.