Social Care Funding – Investment in adult social care is an investment in all of us

Back in September, the government announced an increase in funding for social care in England. Headlines included;

  • An introduction of a lifetime cap on personal care costs
  • The adjustment of local authority financial assessment thresholds
  • £5.4bn spending over three years, raised by the Health and Social Care Levy, to deliver Government’s commitments
  • £500m of this package to develop the sector’s workforce

A recent BBC article discussed the latest update on the lifetime cap, whereby Boris Johnson only narrowly succeeded in getting MPs to back the social care cap for England. Boris stated that the £86,000 lifetime limit on costs is more generous than the current system and will cover fees for personal care, like help with washing and dressing. It will not cover however living costs, such as care home fees, food or utility bills.

The article goes on to outline the Governments wider social care plan from October 2023:

  • those with assets of less than £20,000 will not have to pay anything towards care fees – although they might have to pay from their income
  • those with more than £100,000 in assets – the value of their home, savings or investments – will not get any financial help from the council
  • those with assets between £20,000 and £100,000 will qualify for council help, but will have to pay £86,000 out of their own pocket to reach the cap

Commenting on this, Charles Tallack, Assistant Director for the REAL Centre The Health Foundation, felt that the levy doesn’t address funding related challenges the system continues to face such as staff shortages and poor workforce pay. The Health and Social Care Levy will be funded by raising National Insurance contributions and this is said to go towards supporting the NHS’s post COVID-19 recovery, the lifetime cap on care costs, and the funding of £5.4bn over the next 3 years.

“Investment in adult social care is an investment in all of us, enabling people to live the life they want to lead, contribute to society and in turn strengthen our local communities. The Government’s social care plan set out initial reforms for the sector and how extra funds will be raised, but the recent Spending Review was disappointing and has left councils concerned about the immediate and medium-term sustainability of care and support.” David Fothergill, Chairman of LGA Wellbeing board on behalf of Care Management Matters

Ultimately the White Paper must develop the Governments pledge to enhance service users’ choice and independence.

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