No further delays on care cost cap

The Independent Care Group is calling on the Government to intervene and prevent further delays to reform aimed at helping older and vulnerable adults meet the cost of their care.

The changes, including a more generous means-test and a lifetime cap on care costs of £86,000, are due to come into effect in October next year.

But the County Councils Network has called for the reforms to be delayed a further year because they do not have the resources to implement them.

The ICG has called on the Government to intervene and prevent more delays.

ICG Chair Mike Padgham said: ““A further delay, until 2024, would be a betrayal of many hundreds of thousands of people who are facing the nightmare of paying their care costs and having to sell their homes to do so.

“It is seven years since the introduction of a cap on care costs was first hit by delays and we cannot keep seeing this reform get kicked further and further down the road.

“We understand and share the County Councils Network’s fears about a lack of staff, funding and resources but the sector cannot afford any more delays.

“It is clear that the funding made available by the Government for the introduction of reform isn’t sufficient and needs to be re-addressed quickly.”

The ICG supports the County Councils Network’s chapter on social care, contained in the organisation’s Five Point Plan for County and Unitary Councils.

In Point 3, Reforming adult social care and health services, The Network calls for the delay in the implementation of the charging reforms until October 2024. It also seeks stabilisation and the tackling of existing pressures in the system; delivery of the ambitions of the Social Care White Paper and equal partnership between health, social care and public health.

Mr Padgham added: “We endorse what the Network says in its social care and health chapter but call on the Government to better support councils so that the reforms do not have to be delayed until 2024.”

  • The ICG last week 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.

 

Mr Padgham added: “This latest warning from the County Councils Network is yet another signal that the Government’s policy on social care isn’t working.

“They are tinkering around the edges whilst what is needed is bold, once-in-a-lifetime reform.  We cannot wait any longer.

“With every passing day the pressure on the delivery of social care mounts and we are on the brink of seeing a loss of providers that will impact many thousands of people.”

Years of under-funding compounded by the Covid-19 pandemic and now crippling staff shortages and the rocketing cost of living have left the social care sector in crisis. At least 1.6m people over 65 are not getting the care they need. Care and nursing homes are closing and homecare providers handing back undeliverable contracts or going out of business.