adult social care crisis

An ongoing political hot potato is the cost of funding adult social care. With an ageing population and means-tested system for funding care, subsequent governments have neatly sidestepped the issue, leaving it as a problem to resolve in the future.

Now, Conversative MP Danny Kruger has set out a new idea to help solve the social care crisis. His pamphlet, ‘Care Commitment’ proposes a move to a more family and community-centered care system.

Kruger, former Political Secretary to Boris Johnson and the author of a recent government review of civil society, is suggesting that all personal care costs at home, for so-called domiciliary care, should be covered by public funds.

As a result, the family home should not need to be sold to fund care received at home.

However, there are some strings attached to his proposal. Under the plans, the individual, their family, the local authority and the government would each have a role to play.

His proposal would give the individual the ultimate power and responsibility over their care, where mental capacity allows, including a responsibility to co-fund care where possible.

Families would have a responsibility to support their relatives themselves, as much as they can, whether that is at home or in residential care.

The local authority, which represents the community, would have a responsibility to co-fund care costs and ensure the delivery of a range of formal and informal support for people in receipt of care, and their families.

And then the government, representing the nation as a whole, would be responsible for co-funding the cost of care and regulating the provision of social care.

A new funding model is proposed in the pamphlet, based on a model of social insurance, covering both residential and community-based care. This funding would dedicate a portion of the National Insurance fund to help pay for social care costs.

The pamphlet includes research carried out by Demos, supported by the County Councils Network, which concluded there is a strong consensus for reforming the social care sector in the future and this reform should be a priority for the government.

The research also found a consensus on the need for a more community-based approach in support for older and disabled people. There is greater public support for a locally-led rather than centrally-led care service.

Danny Kruger MP said:

“The problem which lies beneath the underfunding of the social care system is that as a society we do not really respect elderly people, or working age adults with care needs. Nor do we properly value the people who, paid or unpaid, look after them.

“This is why social care has always been the Cinderella of the public services, with underinvestment by successive governments largely accepted by voters. We have built a model that pushes people with care needs, carers and care workers to the margins of our society – out of sight, out of mind, and out of pocket. That now must change.

“There is every reason to be hopeful that, as we emerge from the long shadow of Covid-19, we can build a system that gives elderly people, and other adults with care needs, dignity and independence, preserves family assets, and properly rewards care workers for their vital, skilled and loving work.”