Social services directors are considering telling the government that they were wrong to rule out funding adult social care through increased taxation.
At a meeting of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services’ (ADASS) executive council yesterday, members noted that there was still widespread interest in the tax option.
The government has already discounted this as unviable, in its consultation Shaping the future of care together.
But during discussion of the ADASS draft response to the green paper one director said: “There has been a strong groundswell of opinion that we should not eliminate the tax option.”
It was argued that prime minister Gordon Brown’s £670m pledge of free personal care for people with the most critical care needs meant that the government had effectively put the tax option back into the green paper mix.
But care services minister Phil Hope told Community Care that while he appreciated the tax option was one people were still interested in, financial modelling by the Department of Health had showed this was simply unaffordable. Demographics showed that the number of people of working age to those of retirement age would fall from four to one to two to one.
“It’s a reshaping of our whole population profile. Funding any new care scheme through tax is simply unaffordable. It’s not fair between the generations,” said Hope.
The directors were meeting prior to this year’s National Children and Adult Services Conference in Harrogate, at which the future of adult social care will be one of the key topics under debate amidst rising adult social care costs.
Discussion at the meeting also looked at the debate on the green paper’s efforts to lay out a more nationally consistent care system. The paper has left open the question of whether it should remove responsibilities from councils by specifying how much money people should receive for a given level of need, rather than leaving this to councils’ discretion.
Executive members expressed concern about the long-term viability among some smaller authorities if this stance was taken.
However, as one director said: “If there were a national entitlement then the risk of that funding has to stick at national level.”
The whole area of adult care funding hit the headlines during the party conference season.
Following the prime minister’s pledge, the Tories unveiled proposals for an insurance scheme enabling people to have their residential care costs met for a one-off payment of about £8,000.
Conservatives pledge £8,000 insurance scheme to meet residential care costs
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Adult social care green paper
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