Read the full document, Building Back Better: Our Plan for Health and Social Care, here.
The reforms, which also include a commitment to ‘ensure that self-funders are able to ask their local authority to arrange their care for them so they can find better value’, will be paid for by the government making £5.4bn available over the next three years, resourced by a National Insurance rise.
Cllr Martin Tett, Adult Social Care Spokesperson for the County Councils Network, said:
“After years of inaction by successive governments, we welcome this administration’s intention to set out reforms in adult social care, funded by national rather than local taxation. Importantly, these reforms place local government at their heart. The announcement of a white paper on wider reform and integration is welcome, particularly if it seeks to get to the root of the challenges within the social care workforce and on prevention.
“The County Councils Network (CCN) supports the principles of protecting more people from catastrophic care costs, extending the means-test threshold and a commitment to improve the quality and access to care services. But these reforms alone and the level of investment in the short-term – compared to the NHS – will not deal with existing problems within the system.
“Last year, some 58% of all requests from people for social care services in county areas were not eligible for council-arranged care, due to insufficient funding for councils leading to a very high eligibility bar for individuals to access services. A cap on care and extended means-test will not address this – and unless further funding is announced in the Spending Review, councils will not have the means to increase the level and quality of services provided for care users already within the system and those who needs are currently going unmet, including working-age adults.
“CCN recognises the need to address the unfairness in the fee levels paid for care by self-funders compared to local authority clients, but today’s commitment to make them fairer will have enormous implications for councils and providers. At present, private fee payers in effect prop up local care markets by paying significantly more than local authorities, who have not been in a position to raise fees owing to financial pressures. This has led to a care market fee gap of £670m in England’s counties alone, and in order to make private and council fees fairer, significant investment will be needed – possibly more than currently committed. Councils want to work with government to understand the implications on this commitment and ensure that it does not further destabilise local care markets.
“We look forward to working with government on these proposals to ensure the final package of reform provides the long-term sustainability adult social care desperately needs.”
Notes to editor