It may be broke, but do we really need to fix it?

Posted on June 22nd, by geoff in CT blog. 1 Comment

By Caring Times editor Geoff Hodgson

There has been a 16% reduction in public spending on social care since 2010 and the Government intends to get another couple of clicks of the pawl on the rachet of austerity by pruning another half-billion from the social care spend in 2015/16.

The Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) isn’t happy. In its latest Budget Survey it warns of ‘serious consequences’ in the wake of continued cuts to social services’ budgets. Will the Government take any notice of them? Before I offer an opinion on that, let me crunch some basic numbers:

About 16% of the population in England is aged over 65. Present figures show that only about one-in-five (20%) of older people end up actually requiring social care in one form or another. Twenty percent of 16 is 3.2 so we can say that 3.2% of the population are going to be in receipt of social care. Now of that 3.2%, more than half of them, I’m guessing a bit here but let’s say 60%, will be self-funders so that brings the number of older people requiring publicly-funded social care down to a little under 2% of the entire population.

What about the care cap? I think the Government sees this as a very cheap way of being seen to have addressed the issue: ‘We’ve brought in the Care Act and the cap – what more do you want?

I think that’s all that the blinkered bean-counters at the Treasury can see. Penny-wise and pound-foolish, they seem not to take account of the care burden on the ‘hard working families’ of the nation and they appear determined not to acknowledge the easily discerned relationship between inadequate social care and older people needlessly occupying hospital beds.

I’m not sanguine about the Government making any policy changes on this; four out of five older people don’t need any care and are more worried about the NHS and their pensions. Most of those who do need care can jolly well pay for it themselves and the few poor devils who are left relying on local authorities probably don’t vote the right way, if at all.

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One response to “It may be broke, but do we really need to fix it?”

  1. “Most of those who do need care can jolly well pay for it themselves” are likely to be mortgage-paid house owners. Unlike “the few poor devils” who are likely to have paid their dues in renting their dwelling(s). Isn’t there a point that both types will have been worthy contributors, likely have both led decent hard-working lives?

    Assuming so, doesn’t it present two routes to fairness:

    1. The state should fund ALL persons’ elderly care, including the ‘hotel element’. OR…

    2. All private landlords and L.A.s should be made to pay a calculated percentage of capital uplifts on their residential rented properties into a state elderly care fund for non house owners that mirrors the existing burden on house-owners to fund their own care.

    The latter certainly has to be fairer than house-owning taxpayers heaving to pay for their own care and for that of ex-renters.

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