Taskforce set up to drive adults’ social services efficiency

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A taskforce is to be established to improve the efficiency of the adult care system, the Treasury has revealed.

Chancellor Alistair Darling used his Budget statement to announce an unspecified funding boost for older people’s social care, paid for by freezing the inheritance tax threshold for four years.

In an apparent reference to the forthcoming Care White Paper, he said the health secretary would shortly set out further proposals on care funding.

The Treasury’s Economic and Fiscal Strategy Report gave further details: “The government will shortly set out its long-term plans for a fair and comprehensive reform of care and support alongside the steps needed in the next Parliament to move towards that goal.”

It said the proposals would build on the previously announced entitlement to free care at home for those with the highest needs – although such the implementation of such an entitlement remains in doubt after the House of Lords blocked the Personal Care at Home Bill.

The Treasury added that the taskforce would be set up to “ensure that the reforms are accompanied by major efficiency and costs improvements”.

Imelda Redmond, chief executive of Carers UK, described reform of the care and support system as “a critical social and economic priority”.

“Following concerns that this vital issue would slip off the political agenda, we warmly welcome the announcement in the Budget that the government will bring forward proposals on funding care and support shortly,” she said.

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