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Almost two-thirds of MPs ‘support £7bn annual boost to adult social care’

Jemma Crew, PA Social Affairs Correspondent
·4-min read

Almost two-thirds of MPs want funding for social care to be increased by £7 billion a year over the next two years, a survey suggests.

And almost a quarter believe the rise should be more than this, according to polling for Health for Care, a coalition of 15 health organisations led by the NHS Confederation.

The groups say social care needs “urgent and radical reform and significant investment”, and are calling on the Government to deliver on its manifesto pledge to “fix” the sector.

Results of the survey, of 96 MPs and 520 councillors in England between November 25 and December 15, come ahead of Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s Budget on Wednesday.

More than three-quarters of MPs said they believe the social care budget should be raised, and almost half think the sector should be funded by a new collective funding mechanism.

Almost two-thirds believe it should receive an extra £7 billion a year, in line with recommendations from the Health and Social Care Committee.

The coalition said the results showed a strong political consensus for reform which spans party divides.

The Government has said it is committed to reform and will set out proposals later this year.

Danny Mortimer, chairman of the coalition and chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said: “Decades of delay and inertia have left the social care system chronically underfunded and in desperate need of reform.

“As we slowly and cautiously ease out of the Covid emergency, we cannot delay this a moment longer.

“It is clear that the tragedy of Covid-19 has helped to cement a consensus in both parliament and local government that urgent action is needed to fix social care.

“There is also clear cross-party support for additional resources for the sector and the need for a long-term financial and workforce plan.

“The NHS and social care work side by side. When one service does not work, the other suffers, and the pandemic has served to shine a stark light on how fragile and severely under-resourced the country’s social care system has become.

“We are now calling on the Government to commit to deliver both significant investment and concrete legislative proposals which give social care the future facing reform it so badly needs.”

The NHS Confederation will publish a report setting out the full findings later this week.

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, chairwoman of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, said: “It is really encouraging to see the widespread support for better resourcing for social care from MPs and councillors from all parties.

“Medical Royal Colleges all recognise that the social care system needs long-term reform and adequate funding both for its own sake and for the sake of the NHS.

“For the NHS to function effectively it is essential that social care is also functioning effectively in parallel.”

Fredi Cavander-Attwood, policy manager at the MS Society on behalf of National Voices, said: “Despite a third of MPs agreeing that social care reform needs to be prioritised, we’re still waiting to see proposals on how to fix our broken system – something we were first promised nearly four years ago.

“Failure to deliver these has resulted in millions of people, including many living with MS, going without the vital care and support they need to get dressed, prepare meals and leave their homes.”

Fiona Carragher, director of research and influencing at Alzheimer’s Society, said: “We support the Health for Care coalition in calling for urgent, comprehensive social care reform.

“We need a system fit for purpose and free at point of use, like the NHS and education, providing quality care for every person with dementia who needs it.”

A Government spokeswoman said: “It’s crucial the care sector has the staff it needs both now and in the future, which is why we are currently running a national recruitment campaign – ‘Care for Others. Make a Difference’ – to support providers to recruit into care roles.

“Delivering a care system that is fit for the future remains a top priority and, following new measures set out in the Health and Care Bill White Paper, we will bring forward proposals for social care reform later this year.

“That’s alongside the billions of additional funding we’ve provided to the sector, including over £1.4 billion in specific funding for adult social care, free Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and increased staff testing to help protect staff and residents throughout the pandemic.”