Social care leaders call on Government to share reform proposals before parliament summer break
Social care leaders in England have called on the Government to publish its proposed reforms of the sector before parliament breaks for the summer.
In a letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Health Secretary Matt Hancock, leaders of organisations representing adult social care providers said the time for reform is now.
They say immediate funding is needed to ensure short-term stability and “avoid serious risks to support” during the next phase of the coronavirus pandemic.
They are also calling for proposals for longer-term investment and reform to be brought forward as an immediate priority to create a simpler, fairer system.
Signatories of the letter include Stephen Chandler, president of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services, and Professor Martin Green on behalf of the Care Provider Alliance.
Mr Johnson said the Government would bring forward “some good plans” on social care as he acknowledged difficulties facing workers in the sector during the pandemic.
Asked about social care funding during a visit to a laboratory in Hertfordshire, the Prime Minister told reporters: “We are pledged to fix it and we must fix it for our country and for our society.
“Social care workers have borne the brunt of the pandemic and we have got to improve it, and we will. We will be bringing forward some good plans in due course.”
It comes amid reports that a key meeting on social care between the Prime Minister, Chancellor and Health Secretary has been delayed.
Multiple papers reported that the trio had been due to hold talks this week but the Guardian later reported that a meeting, scheduled for Tuesday, had been postponed.
No 10 declined to comment on reports about a meeting, with the PM’s official spokesman saying that, as is standard practice, he would not be drawn on “timings for internal meetings in Government”.
The spokesman said cross-party talks on reform will take place once proposals have been revealed.
He said he would not be drawn on how much the changes could cost or whether taxes would have to rise to pay for them, following reports the reforms could cost £10 billion annually to fund.
Asked whether he recognised the frustration with the delay in publishing the plan, he said: “Reforming and coming up with a long-term solution to social care has been a challenge for many years, we absolutely recognise that.
“The Prime Minister remains completely committed to coming out with a long-term solution for social care.”
Proposals will be set out before the end of the year, he added.
The Independent Care Group, which represents providers in York and North Yorkshire, said Mr Johnson must be “bold and decisive” and “make history” as the PM who finally fixed social care.
Chairman Mike Padgham (pictured) said: “The Prime Minister has promised to get social care done and the country is tired of waiting for him to deliver on that promise. Time and time again we have been promised a Green Paper on reform, only for it to be delayed again and again.
“The meeting must be rescheduled immediately and all three people come up with an urgent plan of action to save social care. No ifs, no buts, we need to see reform on the table and we need to see it now.
“There is no time left for delays, discussions and consultations, we have to see action.”
Copyright (c) PA Media Ltd. 2021, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) The Independent Care Group.