Govt criticised for being vague on social care

Govt criticised for being vague on social care

The government has been criticised over its lack of detail on what will be included in its proposals to reform adult social care, with calls for this to be considered as an “immediate priority”.

In the Queen’s Speech delivered to parliament this morning (October 14), the government confirmed it will bring forward proposals to reform adult social care, which includes setting out legislative requirements.

Documents released alongside the speech detailed a 2 per cent precept relating to money collected through council tax but no further detail was given on what would be included as part of the proposals.

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Previously a number of policy ideas such as a Care Isa, a cap on lifetime social care charges and tax-free withdrawals from pension pots were reportedly under consideration but these were not mentioned this morning.

The social care industry is now calling on the government to lay down its plans in this area as a priority, arguing reform has been years in the making.

Jane Ashcroft, chief executive of not-for-profit care provider Anchor Hanover, said: “It is exasperating to see government once again pay lip service to social care, and failing to meaningfully address the deepening crisis.

“Social care services cannot continue to be a victim of political turbulence – hundreds of thousands of older people have already suffered after years of inaction and broken promises.

“In the next 15 years, 4.4m more people will be aged 65 or over. We cannot wait any longer to secure a positive future for today’s and tomorrow’s older generations – we demand government finalise its ‘clear plan’ to reform social care as an immediate priority.”

Rachael Griffin, tax and financial planning expert at Quilter, agreed the sector had been “primed for reform” for an ”eternity”.

Ms Griffin said: “It has proved a subject of hot debate amongst politicians and hit boiling point in the latest party conference season with debates on the topic dominating on all sides. 

“Pledges to resolve the issue have been two a penny, but an elusive green paper has yet to materialise. It appears that we have waited for so long that we are now going to bypass that stage altogether, with parties promising to deliver concrete proposals.

“Whatever the policy, one of the central pillars of the government’s reform needs to be an awareness strategy.”

But others were not surprised by the lack of anything concrete in the government’s announcement.

Stephen Lowe, group communications director at Just Group, said: “No surprises on social care in today's Queen's Speech, we expected it to get a mention but were not expecting anything tangible.

“That's exactly what we got - a generic commitment to bring forward ‘proposals’ and a recap of announcements already made.”

Similarly Mike Padgham, chair of the Independent Care Group, said: “Very little was said on social care and all that the current government seems to be doing is repeating what previous governments have already said.