ICG Chair Mike Padgham is urging the public to mount a last-ditch plea to the Government to stop vital extra funding from being denied to social care.
Mr Padgham says plans by ministers to delay measures to help people afford care are a breaking of an election manifesto pledge.
And he has urged people to lobby their MPs this weekend to stop it from happening.
He said: “It isn’t too late. If enough people lobby their MPs, the Government might be persuaded that this is the wrong thing to do.
“It has shown that it can perform a u-turn and it must be persuaded to do one on this.
“This delay would be a cruel betrayal of many hundreds of thousands of people who need care to have a decent quality of life and the 1.6m who can’t get care.
“Instead the Government needs to start reform by giving the sector at least the £7bn extra a year the Chancellor has previously admitted the sector needs ‘just to stand still’.”
Mr Padgham, who is Chair of the provider organisation The Independent Care Group, said reports that a cap on care costs is being delayed until after the next election were “a fresh kick in the teeth for thousands of innocent and silent victims.”
He said: “This would be an unfair and blatant breaking of a manifesto pledge to end the crisis in the care of our most vulnerable and the public can’t allow it to happen.
“We have been promised reform, we have been promised extra funding and yet year after year – for more than 30 years – it is always social care that gets put to the back of the line. Well, it isn’t fair and we shouldn’t put up with it.”
He said there remained question marks over whether the sector would get any extra money after the Health and Social Care Levy, which was to be funded through extra National Insurance payments, was scrapped.
At a conference in Harrogate earlier this week, Mr Padgham asked delegates what social care had to do to get the attention, and the reform, it has been seeking for at least 30 years.
“I am always bemused why more people don’t get concerned over social care,” Mr Padgham told delegates.
“People campaigning for better childcare provision held a march this weekend. Where are the people doing the same for better social care?”
He asked whether it was time for social care supporters to stand as MPs to get the issue properly heard.
The proposed reforms, including a more generous means-test and a lifetime cap on care costs of £86,000, were due to come into effect in October next year. But there are increasing reports that the Government is to delay the changes, because of financial restraints, possibly until after the next election.
Mr Padgham added: “Time and time again, when we have a glimmer of hope for the future and that older and vulnerable adults might get some fair treatment, that hope is snatched away by government after government and social care is left short-changed.
“I am left wondering what has to happen before those silent victims, who are our own mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles, brothers and sisters get the care they deserve.”
The ICG says more than 30 years of neglect and under-funding has left social care on the brink of collapse, with Covid-19, chronic staff shortages and the cost-of-living crisis turning the situation critical. Care and nursing homes are closing and homecare providers are handing back undeliverable contracts.
At least 1.6m people are living without the care they need and there are 165,000 job vacancies in the sector.
It has written to the Prime Minister and the Chancellor calling upon them to give social care at least an extra £7bn a year.
The ICG has called for root and branch reform of the social care sector.
It has launched its Five Pillars of Social Care Reform, setting out what it believes are the actions required to save the sector.
The five pillars are:
- Ring fence a percentage of GDP to be spent on providing social care to those who already receive it and the 1.6m who can’t get it
- Create a unified National Care Service, incorporating health and social care
- Set a National Minimum Wage per hour for care staff on a par with NHS
- Set up an urgent social care task force to oversee reform
- Fix a ‘fair price for care’ cost per bed and cost per homecare visit.