Britain’s biggest pensioner organisation, the National Pensioners Convention has described the additional £2bn on social care in England announced in yesterday’s budget as a ‘sticking plaster’ on the crisis that the service is currently facing.
Dot Gibson, NPC general secretary said: “For many older people and their families who are struggling with the confusing social care system, the extra funding announced today will be seen as little more than a sticking plaster on the crisis.
“The additional £2bn from the Chancellor won’t reverse the £5bn cut that the service has suffered since 2010, it won’t give services to the 1.2 million people who have been rationed out of the system and it won’t ease the burden on millions of unpaid older carers who are working 24/7 to look after their loved ones.
“The promise of a Green Paper is clearly an admission by the government that they haven’t got a clue how to solve the long-term funding crisis facing social care, and it will be years before anything serious gets done. In the meantime, local councils will struggle to meet rising demands and self-funders will face rising care home bills.
“No other part of the health service is funded by individuals and their families, rather than by society as a whole. It’s time for a tax-funded social care system that’s fair, shares the cost and risk across everyone and gives dignity to those who need looking after in their later years.”
In the last few months, the crisis in social care has risen to the very top of the political agenda. The government claims it is seeking a long-term solution to the problems, but is unlikely to produce any tangible legislation before 2020.
On 31 March 2016, in England, there were 199,305 people in nursing and residential home places and 452,990 people accessing long-term care in the community for whom the local council had some role in funding or providing care or assessing the needs of the person receiving it.
It has been estimated that there are now nearly 1.2 million people who are not getting the care they need.