Ahead of committee stage discussions in the House of Lords today, UNISON, the National Pensioners Convention and think tank United For All Ages, are writing to each member of the House, calling for the cap on social care costs to be scrapped. The groups are calling for social care to be provided free at the point of use, funded through general taxation along the lines of the NHS-style model of care.
A ten-point leaflet spells out exactly what the Coalition’s proposed cap will mean for elderly people who depend on care services. The groups are concerned that key issues with the current set up will not be addressed, including the chronic underfunding of the system and the impact this has on standards. The leaflet outlines how the moves will make the already complex care system even more difficult for people to navigate, and that the changes will not prevent people having to sell their homes, as the government has claimed. The groups are also concerned that it will not help those struggling to pay for care, especially those on low-mid incomes.
UNISON, the National Pensioners Convention and United for All Ages will lobby MPs when the bill moves to the House of Commons in October.
Dave Prentis, UNISON General Secretary, said: “We are appealing to the Lords to make a stand against the coalition’s plan to cap social care costs. The plans fail to address the key issues facing social care – the chronic underfunding of the system and the damaging impact on quality. And despite the government’s claims, it will not stop the elderly from having to sell their homes to pay for their care. We think the cap should be scrapped with a national social care service put in place. It should be free at the point of use, funded through general taxation, similar to the NHS-style model of care.”
Dot Gibson, NPC general secretary said: “Peers of all parties need to understand that the Care Bill is simply tinkering at the edges of the problem with social care. Every day some of our most vulnerable older people are being let down by a largely privatised social care system that simply cannot meet their needs. The fairest way of paying for our care in later life should be through general taxation, just like other public services.”
Stephen Burke, director of United for All Ages, said: “There is a real danger of sleep-walking into the cap. The Government’s cap on care costs will leave older people and their families without the help they need and won’t resolve the massive underfunding of care. Peers have the chance to avoid this huge mistake.
“The £72k cap on care costs will mean that older people will have to live in and pay for a care home for at least five years before they get any financial support. Together with the ‘hotel’ costs of residential care, their bills could easily exceed £200k, so older people would still have to sell their home. The funding to introduce the cap will not inject much needed cash into the care system – it will simply substitute private spending with public spending. With almost one million older people already missing out on care and with demand for care growing for our ageing population, the care system desperately needs extra funding.
“There are fairer and better alternatives. The failure by this Government to meet the care challenge means that the next government will have to sort this out to meet the care needs of our ageing population.”
In brief the leaflet makes clear that the Coalition’s proposed cap will
- Not make the already complex care system easier or simpler
- Not prevent older people having to sell their home
- Not help tackle the two current priority issues of underfunding and improving quality
- Not help meet growing unmet need
- Not support the prevention agenda or encourage integration of service
- Not help those struggling to pay for care, especially those on low-mid incomes