The government is due to publish its long-awaited green paper on the future funding of adult social care today.
Ahead of its launch, press reports speculated that it would include plans to set up a National Care Service – on a par with the NHS – which would provide all adults with care needs with a minimum entitlement to a service. It would also set out options for paying for this, including insurance, a levy on people’s estates after death or taxation.
Meanwhile, campaigners from across the social care sector have reiterated calls for the document to tackle current under-funding, remove the postcode lottery in access to services and ensure the system is much more transparent.
With the costs of care and support set to increase significantly, given rising expectations and numbers of older and disabled people, a key issue will be the balance between public funding and individual contributions in any future funding settlement.
Unrealistic to expect contributions
Andrew McCulloch, chief executive of the Foundation for People with Learning Disabilities and the Mental Health Foundation, warned that it would be “unrealistic” to expect people with learning disabilities or mental health problems to contribute significantly to the costs of care.
He added: “Most people with a learning disability, and many with long-term mental health problems, are unable to work and so live on very little. It’s simply not realistic to expect them to accumulate enough money to make significant contributions to their social care funding.”
‘Do not ignore us’
Andrew Lee, director of self-advocacy group People First and co-chair of the Learning Disability Coalition said: “Our research has shown people’s lives are being neglected to save a bit of cash. I urge all political parties not to ignore people with a learning difficulty in the green paper. The dark days of the long-stay institutions are well behind us – and we need to keep it that way.”
The Social Care Institute for Excellence stressed that the green paper should focus as much on the quality of care and support as much as how services will be funded.
Community Care will be providing full coverage online of the green paper following its launch, which is expected to be at 3.30pm today.
Stealth tax? No, just care insurance, says health secretary (The Daily Mail)
National care service to help ageing population (The Guardian)
‘Care insurance’ planned for old (The BBC)
Elderly care plans to be unveiled (The Press Association)