The King's Fund responds to Labour’s social care policy announcement

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Responding to Labour’s social care policy announcement, Sally Warren, Director of Policy at The King’s Fund, said:

‘The social care system is not fit for purpose. Many older and disabled people who need help with basic tasks such as washing and eating are forced to rely on family, pay for care themselves or are unable to access care at all.

‘The case for reform is overwhelming and free personal care would be a good step. If funded properly, this will be simpler for people to understand and mean more people receive the help and support they need. But free personal care is not the same thing as free social care, and some people would still be left facing catastrophic costs of care.

‘Labour’s recognition of the importance of the social care workforce is welcome, but there is little detail in how those aspirations will be delivered and what it will cost. The lack of serious proposals to support working age adults is also disappointing. Working age adults account for around half of the public money spent on social care and they must not be forgotten when reforming the system.

‘Reducing the historic divide between means-tested social care and largely free-at-the-point-of-use NHS services could benefit thousands of people, but that does not necessarily require more services provided by local authorities. A properly funded new system should have space for public, private and voluntary sector care providers – a diversity that has been feature of social care for 30 years. Reforms to social care are desperately needed and should focus on creating a better funded and fairer system that delivers the quality of care that older and disabled people need and rightly expect.’

Notes to editors

For further information or interview requests, contact Andrew McCracken on:

a.mccracken@kingsfund.org.uk
Tel: +44 (0)20 7307 2594
Mob: +44 (0)7774 907 960

The King’s Fund position on adult social care is available online. Work conducted by the King’s Fund and the Health Foundation found that, when social care funding choices are made clear to the public, most believe that the bulk of new funding to pay for a reformed system should come from central government. 

Recent analysis by The King’s Fund found that many supermarkets pay higher average hourly wages than care work.

For more statistics on the social care system, see Social Care 360, published by The King’s Fund earlier this year.