News Story

Care and Support Alliance briefing on Queen’s Speech

May 7, 2013

Care and Support Alliance briefing on Queen’s Speech
Proposed reforms welcome – but not enough on their own

The Social Care system is in crisis

– There is a rising need for social care in our society – due to an ageing population and increasing numbers of people with disabilities.
– Local authorities across the country are rapidly restricting the categories of people who qualify for help with social care – in the vast majority of local authorities you now have to be assessed as having “substantial” care needs as well as have less than £23,250 to get any help with social care support.

The publication of the Care and Support Bill in the Queen’s Speech will outline the Government’s plans for the future of social care for older and disabled people and their carers.

It is expected to:
– Introduce a national eligibility threshold – meaning finally that access to the social care system is based on need rather than where someone lives
– Making social care assessments portable – meaning that if someone receiving social care moves, they do not lose their social care provision.
– Introduce a lifetime cap on care costs of £72,000 to start in 2016
– Strengthen the rights of carers

The Care and Support alliance recognises these proposals as a major step forward in social care reform which could make the system much fairer.

However legislation is not enough. For the Care and Support Bill to fulfil its promise, it needs to be accompanied by:

– A firm commitment in June’s spending review to find the resources to make such a system a sustainable reality.

– A commitment to set the eligibility threshold for entry to the social care system at a level equivalent to that deemed “moderate” in the current system. Currently the vast majority of councils have cut those with moderate needs out of social care system. Unless this changes it means those people who are unable to carry out tasks such as washing, preparing a meal, or dressing, those who are unable to continue to work without support and those whose carers cannot cope anymore would not get any funded social care support or have their expenditure on care count towards a lifetime cap.

By setting the entry threshold at moderate the Care and Support Alliance believes that people will be able to get help before a problem spirals into a crisis.

All too often denying social care support to those who need it results in unnecessary hospital admissions, increasing isolation, disabled people and their carers being forced out of the workplace and carers cracking under the strain of trying to cope.

The Care and Support Alliance calls upon the Government to secure its legacy to current and future generations of older, disabled and seriously ill people and their carers by creating a fair social care system built on a bedrock of sustainable funding and legislative transformation.

– ENDS –