A report commissioned by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York has called for increased taxation to support and improve social care for adults across the UK.
Published yesterday (January 24) the report - Care and Support Reimagined: a National Care Covenant for England - outlined a number of actions for government and wider society to “redesign” the social care system and “rebalance” roles and responsibilities within it.
Launched in April 2021, the commission set up by the Archbishops was tasked with developing a “radical and inspiring vision, drawing on Christian theology and tradition, that reimagines care and support".
It was led by Dr Anna Dixon, former chief executive of the Centre for Ageing Better and co-chaired by Rt Revd James Newcome, Bishop of Carlisle and the lead Bishop for health and social care in the House of Lords.
Commenting on the reports' publication, Dixon said: “Our reimagined vision for care and support puts relationships at the centre and encourages us to think about how social care can enable everyone to live well.
"This is no time for tinkering around the edges of a social care system that for too long has left people who draw on care and support feeling marginalised and carers feeling exhausted and undervalued."
Although the commission acknowledged that proposing fiscal policy options is outside of its realm, it said it wants to see funding of social care for adults that is “progressive, taxes both wealth and income, and shares the responsibilities fairly between individuals, households and businesses”.
The commission also called for an independent review of charges currently made by local authorities in relation to adult social care needs.
It asked that the review consider the affordability of current changes and their impact on financial benefits.
It also asked that it set out a timetable for reducing and eventually eliminating charges, so that social care is brought more in line with the NHS.
The report said: “We recognise that extending entitlements so more people benefit from a universal system of care and support will require more of us to contribute to its funding.
“We believe that pooling the risk of disability (as we do with ill health) and providing security for disabled people and those who need care and support is part of our collective responsibilities to one another.”
However it added: “It has not been our remit nor indeed our expertise as a commission to propose fiscal policy options.”
Elsewhere, the report also highlighted the impact care giving has on older women in particular and their ability to remain in the workforce and contribute to a pension for their retirement.
“Care is part of the vital social infrastructure to enable labour market participation, especially of women. Caring is one of the main reasons that workers over 50 drop out of the labour market,” the report said.
“As a result, they are not earning, not paying taxes, find it hard to return to work, and they are at higher risk of poverty in older age.”