On Monday, the Dilnot Commission published recommendations to reform social care in England. More people would get social care support; fewer people would have to pay for it; and everybody would be protected from paying huge costs for care over their lifetime. What’s not to like?
Well if you’re the current Government, two things. Firstly, some newspapers that are generally considered to support the Government have attacked it because older people may be asked to pay towards funding this new system. This wholly ignores the fact that people aged 65+ are already paying £8.3bn a year for social care at the moment. Dilnot’s recommendations would mean they would have to pay less
Secondly, it would mean additional Government spending of £1.7bn p/a, which would rise in the future. £1.7bn is 0.25% of public expenditure. Dilnot advised that this 0.25% could be found in three ways:
- Through an increase in general taxation income
- Reduce spending by 0.25% in other areas to pay for this
- Introduce a specific tax increase to pay for the 0.25%
The question is not whether we can afford the 0.25% or not. The question is do we want to afford it?
For me the answer was provided by another big story of the week – Elaine McDonald, the former ballerina. Her council is removing her overnight care that helped her use a commode, instead giving her incontinence pads to wear. And she’s not a one off. There are stories like this all over England where people’s quality of life are being severely affected because we are not providing enough social care support.
The immediate blame for poor social services is often laid at the door of councils as it is they who provide the services. We don’t blame Government for causes behind this, making it easier for them not to do anything to improve the system. That has to change. Government should act and find this 0.25%; if they don’t I won’t be the only one who will blame them the next time another person’s dignity is stripped away.
About this blog
|At Carers Trust, together with our Network Partners, we provide support, information, advice and services for the millions of people caring at home for a family member or friend.|
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