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MPs call for £7bn annual increase in Social Care funding – doing nothing ‘no longer an option’

The influential cross-party group of MPs who make up the Health & Social Care Committee have called for an urgent multibillion-pound injection into the social care system to address rising levels of need among older and disabled people and to improve pay and skills for care workers.

The Committee stated that there should be investment of at least £7bn a year in the care sector by 2023-24, though it said this was only a “starting point” and that it would not address unmet care needs nor improve access to care. The full cost of adequately funding social care was likely to run into tens of billions, but that this was essential if society was to look after vulnerable people “with the dignity and respect they deserve”.

The Committee’s chair, Jeremy Hunt MP, said:

“The pandemic has held up in lights the brilliant and brave work done by the social care workforce – but the real thank you they want is not a weekly clap but a long term plan for the crisis in their sector …. to address wider issues the sector needs a 10-year plan and a people plan just like the NHS. Without such a plan, words about parity of esteem will be hollow. We owe it to both the staff and families devastated by loss to make this a moment of real change.”

At least 17 Social Care funding reform White Papers, Green Papers and official reviews have been published in the past 20 years, none of which have borne fruit. The latest promised Green Paper has been delayed multiple times over the past two years, and currently no date has been given for its publication.

The full Health and Social Care Committee report can be accessed on the Parliament website.

SIA completely support the Health & Social Care Committees view that there is a critical need for long-term funding and reform in the Social Care sector, but in the short-term we are desperately concerned that the ending of free movement of people after Brexit is going to lead to a shortage of skilled care workers, at a time when the care sector is already under enormous pressure due to the impact of the pandemic.

We believe it’s vital that frontline social care roles are designated as ‘key workers’, as this ensures migrant workers can follow the skilled worker immigration route, and will therefore be eligible to live and work in the UK.

If you are concerned about the future availability of carers, or are directly affected by the end of freedom of movement after Brexit, SIA really want to hear from you.  Please get in touch via [email protected]