News Story

Former Care Minister: ‘Reforms must go further’

January 14, 2014

  • Former Care Minister wants care reforms to go further
  • Adults receiving day-to-day help at home and in the community falls by a third (31%) since 2008
  • Care Bill: bold reforms at risk as 75 charities urge Government to re-think care threshold and invest in local support

Former Care Minister Paul Burstow is fronting a cross-party bid for Government care reforms to go further, and include more older and disabled people and family carers.

He joins Conservative MP Dr Sarah Wollaston and Labour MP Grahame Morris in prompting a discussion on the Care Bill on Tuesday by putting his name to an amendment to the flagship legislation.

The amendment is backed by the 75 charities of the Care and Support Alliance and would mean older and disabled people who are unable to undertake several aspects of personal care, or work, education or training would be eligible for council-funded care. Under the Government’s proposed reforms the group, described as people with ‘moderate needs’, could be excluded.

At the same time, new analysis by the Alliance, released today, shows that within the overall squeeze on social care, people who need support with day-to-day tasks in their own home (getting up, washing, dressing) and local community (shopping, or skills development at day centres) are mostly likely to be losing out on care.

  • Overall adults receiving this community-based care fell by almost a third (31%) since 2008. Over the same time people receiving care support in a residential or nursing home fell by only 8%.
  • The numbers of older people receiving help at home and in their community fell by 36%.
  • The numbers of working aged people with a physical disability receiving help at home and in their community fell by 29%.

    (see notes for reference)

The analysis and the amendment add fuel to the on-going debate on how to ease the pressure on accident and emergency departments, which has recently seen experts link the issue to the historic squeeze on social care.

Recently NHS leaders warned that a lack of local and community care is forcing people to stay in hospital too long, and placing a huge strain on finances and capacity.

Sitting behind the squeeze is the fact that councils have had to reduce their adult social care budgets by £2.6bn in the last three years alone, according to social services directors.

The Care and Support Alliance backs the cross-party trio’s bid to widen access to care to include everyone that needs support with day-to-day tasks, and also urges the Government to back-up their Bill with funding.

The CSA warns that under current plans, the 347,000 people cut out of social care since 2008 will remain locked out of the system.

The alliance sees the Government’s £3.8bn Better Care Fund – which starts in 2015 – as a step in the right direction, but charities and councils warn if the Government continues to cut council budgets then the good intentions of the fund will be damaged and it will do no more than slow the growing gap between supply and demand for social care.

Richard Hawkes, chair of the Care and Support Alliance, says:

“You can’t tackle the winter A&E crisis, without looking at the historic squeeze on social care.

“We now know that community-based care has been hit hard.

“Chronic underfunding has left hundreds of thousands of older and disabled people, who need support to do the basics, like getting up or out of the house, out of the care system.
“Without that support they become isolated, more likely to slip into crisis and end up in A&E.

“The Government has put forward strong proposals in its Care Bill, which will greatly improve a social care system which is on its knees.

“But it’s becoming clear that a huge number of older and disabled people will not see any of the benefits of the new system, because of plans to tightly restrict who gets care. This will place huge pressure on family carers.

“We want the Government to have the courage to see its bold plans through, and make sure that those who need support to live independently get community-based care.

“The Minister has engaged with the sector and acknowledged the issue.

“But the Government needs to commit to properly funding the social care system.”

For more information or interviews contact Daniel Mazliah from Scope
– 0207 619 7203
– 07970813630

Notes to Editors

About the Care and Support Alliance:

§  Set up in July 2009, the C&SA is a consortium of over 75 organisations that represent and support older and disabled people, including disabled children, those with long-term conditions and their families, and campaigns to keep adult care funding and reform on the political agenda.

Social care
Social care supports people to do the basics in life; day-to-day activities such as getting washed, getting dressed, communicating with others and getting out of the house. It can also include help with managing bills, cleaning and shopping, or using peer support groups, pre-employment and employment services, or day centers that develop communication and social skills, or help with emotional and behaviour management.

Care Bill 

The Care Bill is at the Committee Stage with debates on 9th and 14th January.

The CSA has called the bill ‘a real achievement’ and praised a series of positive amendments to the Care Bill, including the right to an independent advocate for some of the most vulnerable people.

The amendment
Clause 13

Page 13, line 31, leave out subsection (7) and insert –

“(7) Needs meet the eligibility criteria when –


(i) there is, or will be, an inability to carry out several personal care or domestic routines, and/or

(ii) the individual will be unable to maintain control over several aspects of their day-to-day life or;

(iii) involvement in several aspects of work, education, training or recreation cannot or will not be sustained, and/or

(iv) several domestic, family and personal relationships cannot or will not be sustained, and/or

(v) there is a risk of abuse or neglect;

(b) they form part of a combination of needs described in paragraph (a).”

Councils to rationing care
Of the 152 councils in England, government figures (“Social Care Legal Reform IA”; 2.5 table 8) show 86% now offer care only to those with the highest level of needs – deemed as ‘critical’ or ‘substantial’ needs.

In those areas this means older and disabled people who are unable to undertake several aspects of personal care, or of work, education or training are no longer eligible for council-funded care.

People falling out of the system
Analysis included in the release comes from Personal Social Services Research Unit (2013) Changes in the patterns of social care provision in England: 2005/6 to 2012/13, London: London School of Economics.

Available online at:

The Government is planning to restrict the number of people who can benefit from the new system. The Care and Support Alliance is calling on the Government to set eligibility at ‘moderate’ so as many people as possible benefit from the new system, and get the preventative support that keeps them from falling into crisis and ending up in A&E.

The final decision on where the national threshold will be set will be published for consultation in spring next year and voted on in autumn 2014.