Social care plans are “two broken promises in one”

Commenting ahead of the vote on the government’s social care plans, Liberal Democrat Health and Social Care Spokesperson Daisy Cooper MP said:

These social care plans are two broken promises in one.

Boris Johnson promised in his manifesto not to raise national insurance tax and that no-one would have to sell their home to pay for care. Now struggling families face being hammered by unfair tax rises, while still facing losing their homes to fund care costs.

The Liberal Democrats will oppose these unfair, divisive plans in Parliament this week. We will continue fighting for a fair and long-term solution to the social care crisis.

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37 Comments

  • John Marriott 22nd Nov '21 - 10:32am

    I get the feeling that the ‘bill’ might end up back on the drawing board.

  • Today’s news story is really about inheritance rather than care. From my reading, the care portion of the recently announced tax rise will fund the implementation of the cap and removing the discount given to councils which subsidised those who paid for their care. I think the tories were unwise to not release all details when they announced this a couple of months ago but I’m not quite sure why everyone assumed that monies they had not paid would count towards the cap.

  • John Marriott 22nd Nov '21 - 6:18pm

    Here’s a bit more. Why not have a sliding scale as to how much of your ‘assets’ you can retain? For example, someone whose house is worth quite a lot (say £500k) should be expected to pay more than someone whose house is worth a good deal less (say £120k).

  • As a former Liberal Democrat Councillor (and Convenor for Social Care) I believe the provision of social care (along with poverty and inequality) is one of the most compelling issues in modern politics. Demographics make it so. It is an issue Liberal Democrats should give the very highest priority and importance to given it is about the needs and human dignity of the most vulnerable.

    The Coalition Government of 2010-15 could, and should, have adopted the Dilnot Report when it was published ten years ago in 2011. The Secretary of State for Social Care at the time was a Liberal Democrat. Regrettably the party failed to make a stand on Dilnot and instead went along with the so-called Lansley reforms. It is time Liberal Democrats gave it priority now.

  • Mark Valladares Mark Valladares 22nd Nov '21 - 9:08pm

    @ David R.

    Whilst I tend to agree that the original Dilnot recommendations were superior in many ways to what we’re now being offered, I’m not sure that resistance from the Minister of State would have counted for much unless Labour were willing to commit to supporting them.

    And, given that the 2010 General Election had seen all three major British parties commit to significant austerity measures, any suggestion that social care would be properly funded would have received the not wholly unreasonable response, “what are you going to cut to pay for this?”.

    And before Peter Martin gatecrashes this conversation with his usual argument that Governments can effectively spend whatever they like (an argument that is unlikely to convince the average voter), I don’t think that there was a widespread rush to contradict their own manifestos quite so soon.

  • Chris Perry 23rd Nov '21 - 7:52am

    David Raw. Entirely agree. The money would have been much better spent on pensions to:
    I) lift older people out of poverty and enhance the quality of life of many;
    ii) reduce the demand upon health and social services;
    iii) ease the tax burden on working people, and;
    iii) enable those older people who need long term care to pay more by handing over their income up to the cost of the home, less their personal allowance, as they do now – without having to take their savings, or house, into account.

  • @ Mark Valladares. Quite fairly, you raise the question of cost, Mark.

    In July, 2011 the Guardian reported the then cost of implementing Dilnot at £ 1.7 billion, but despite the austerity programme, the Coalition Government still proceeded with the new aircraft carrier programme at a cost of £ 6.2 billion….. and that’s not counting the cost of the aircraft.

    Politics, as I’m sure you agree, is a question of choices and priorities – something that has bedevilled Liberal history and politics over the years…… Dreadnoughts or old age pensions in 1908 …… I know which I would choose.

  • David Raw,

    the coalition government of 2010-15 did adopted the Dilnot Report when it was published ten years ago in 2011. The reforms (including Dilnot’s cap) were legislated for in the 2014 Care Act https://www.communitycare.co.uk/2016/07/13/cuts-reform-cameron-legacy-adult-social-care/
    “This reform agenda was piloted by two Liberal Democrat ministers of state for care services – Paul Burstow and Norman Lamb – who were popular with the sector, as were the reforms as a whole.
    “As coalition government turned to Conservative government in May 2015, councils lobbied hard for the Dilnot Commission changes to be halted on the grounds that authorities could not afford to implement them”.
    Ultimately it comes back to funding and housing equity at a time when many of the younger generation have no access to affordable housing . I penned my view sometime ago and see little to change that view in the current government reforms https://www.libdemvoice.org/a-residential-land-value-tax-approach-to-funding-adult-social-care-59639.html

  • Peter Martin 23rd Nov '21 - 1:33pm

    @ Mark Valladares,

    “……Peter Martin gatecrashes this conversation with his usual argument that Governments can effectively spend whatever they like”

    Look, Mark, I don’t mind you disagreeing with anything I’ve actually said or written, but it is annoying when you just make it up! I, will however, take mention of my name as an ‘invitation to the party’, so to speak! 🙂

    The ability of the Govt to provide for social care is, like anything else, limited by the available resources in the economy. If it tries to spend on resources which aren’t there, it will create extra inflation in the system. It can try to make more resources available by imposing extra taxation which will create the fiscal space needed for it to be able to spend without causing that inflation.

    At the moment there’s a good argument for saying this is going to be necessary. But, if the post-Covid inflation spike does prove to be just that, then it may not be so in a year or two. The economy could well end up in recession, especially if interest rates are hiked, and more spending on social care could soon be justified on economic as well as humanitarian grounds. We’ll just have to see how it turns out.

  • Social care has to be funded on a permanent basis. It can’t be reliant on waiting for spare resources to become available in the economy during a recession. The only way to do that on a year after year basis is to provide for the tax funding necessary for allocation of the resources required to meet the needs of an aging population.
    Government budgets and longer term spending plans are based on OBR forecasts. The OBR never forecasts a future recession. It is always a growth trend based on extrapolation from the most recent past and an assumption of near full employment as the economy recovers. Monetary and fiscal stimulus goes up and down with peaks and troughs in the business cycle. For that reason, stimulus measures can never substitute for maintaining permanent continuing spending.
    It is unlikely that increases in current tax rates whether income tax or national insurance, corporation tax or VAT would produce much if anything by way of increased receipts to the exchequer. The overall tax burden as a % of national income remained fairly constant despite rates as high as 98% on investment income in the 1970s and the lowering of this rate to 40% in the 1980s or increasing Vat from 8% to 20% today. The recently announced tax hikes increases the expected tax take to its highest level since the 1950s https://citywire.co.uk/funds-insider/news/budget-2021-tax-burden-will-be-highest-since-1950s-attlee-gov-t/a1574287. The reason the tax take remains fairly constant despite large variations in rates is the deadweight effect of taxes on economic growth.
    Daisy Copper is right that no-one should have to sell their home to pay for care and struggling families should not be hammered by unfair tax rises or taxes that will depress economic growth.
    There is only one tax I know of with a zero deadweight effect i.e. the Land Value Tax.

  • Peter Martin 23rd Nov '21 - 3:15pm

    @ Joe,

    “Social care has to be funded on a permanent basis.”

    So does everything else: Education, the NHS, the armed forces etc. Or rather, the resources to support them have to be found on a permanent basis. That’s not quite the same as saying that every penny spent by Govt has to be covered by tax receipts. It all depends on the state of the economy at the time. Sometimes the gap will be wider than others and may even close completely at others.

    The available resources to support will only increase if we have a growing economy. The trade off between growth, unemployment and inflation cannot be ignored. It doesn’t make any sense to make the same mistakes we’ve made for the past decade with growth stifling and unnecessary penny pinching.

  • @ Joseph Bourke “the coalition government of 2010-15 did adopted (sic) the Dilnot Report when it was published ten years ago in 2011. The reforms (including Dilnot’s cap) were legislated for in the 2014 Care Act”.

    Oh no they didn’t, Joseph. They kicked Dilnot into the long grass without, as far as I know, a whimper from the Lib Dem bit of the Coalition.

    The facts and events are fully set out in : “House of Commons BRIEFING PAPER Number 7265, 23 February 2018 Social care: Announcements delaying the introduction of funding reforms (including the cap) (England)”.

  • David Evans 23rd Nov '21 - 5:40pm

    @ David Raw, You are right in pointing out the cost of the Aircraft Carriers that were completed under the coalition, the contracts were signed under Gordon Brown’s premiership and penalty clauses were very draconian.

    Although David Cameron was not telling the truth when he claimed that it would cost more to cancel than to build the second carrier, it would have involved a massive amount of money being paid out for no benefit (except to BAE Systems plc).

    Also I think that the £1.7b quoted by the Guardian was a recurring annual cost, while the £6.2b was a one off capital cost, but I would of course bow to the expertise of an ex Social Care portfolio holder if I am mistaken – subject of course to any review deemed necessary by an ex Finance Portfolio Holder! 🙂

    However, whatever the end result, I do agree with you that spending on implementing the Dilnot proposals would be much more beneficial than spending on carriers.

    All the best.

  • Chris Perry 23rd Nov '21 - 5:46pm

    Just to clarify, the money the government has put into social care to introduce a “cap”, which will benefit the rich, might have been better spent on pensions in order to:

    i) enhance the quality of life of many;
    ii) reduce demand upon health and social care;
    iii) ease the tax burden on working people, and;
    iii) enable those older people who need long term care to pay more by handing over their income up to the cost of the care home less their personal allowance, as they do now, without having to take their savings or house into account.

    A win win.

  • David Raw,

    the paper you cite begins “In July 2015, the Government announced that it would delay – from April 2016 to April 2020 – reform of social care funding that had been drawn up in the light of the recommendations of the Care and Support Commission, chaired by Sir Andrew Dilnot”.
    Following the announcement Norman Lamb and Kirsty Williams posted their reactions https://ldhealthandcare.org/lamb-and-williams-warn-on-care-cap-delay/
    “This an extraordinary and devastating u-turn from the Tories and an outrageous betrayal of people at their most weak and most frail with conditions like dementia.
    Crippling care costs need addressing urgently. In coalition we designed a solution that would help and was affordable. Local authorities have spent millions already preparing for the introduction of the cap, yet we now hear the Tories are turning their back on it. This delay is a total waste of public money.
    The distress and heartbreak that people feel when a loved one is in care, is being exacerbated by the fear of how to pay for it. We must not allow this to continue.
    Be in no doubt, this is not a delay. The Tories are abandoning the cap. George Osborne never supported this, and Labour were only half hearted in support. The cap was only secured because Liberal Democrats negotiated it in coalition.
    There’s no possibility that the finances of social care will be any easier in 2020. They have broken a clear promise in their manifesto within weeks of grabbing power on their own and decided to prioritise tax cuts for the wealthy”.
    Kirsty Williams added: “I am appalled that, the moment the Liberal Democrats leave government, the Tories have kicked our plans to cap lifetime care costs into the long grass. Liberal Democrats in government fought to reform the way social care is funded, to help ease the burden of long term care costs on the elderly, their families and carers”.

  • Peter Martin 24th Nov '21 - 5:20am

    “Daisy Copper is right that no-one should have to sell their home to pay for care.”

    Or we could say that everyone should have to sell their home. The unfairness arises because some of us will need expensive and extensive social care in our latter years, whereas others of us won’t. It will depend on the manner of our demise which is always going to be random and therefore unpredictable.

    So from a fairness POV how about a scheme whereby we even out the risk by the imposition of a tax on the value of our estate on our death. ie Death duties. What’s the objection?

    “and struggling families should not be hammered by unfair tax rises or taxes that will depress economic growth.”

    The primary reason for taxes is to reduce our spending power and so create the fiscal space for Governments to spend without causing inflation. There are other reasons such as reducing inequality and discouraging harmful activities such as smoking. Sometimes a tax will have more than a single effect. A tax on cigarettes, for instance, will reduce the spending power of smokers and discourage smoking. On the other hand a tax on the very rich, such as a mansion tax, won’t do much to reduce their spending power but it will have an effect on inequality.

    So any proposed new tax needs to be analysed in terms of its fiscal effects. It isn’t sufficient to consider only the short term amount of revenue collected.

    Any taxation designed to reduce our spending power will only discourage growth if it excessive in relation to the total spending, including by govt, in the economy.

  • Peter Martin 24th Nov '21 - 5:23am

    /cont

    “There is only one tax I know of with a zero deadweight effect i.e. the Land Value Tax.”

    The concept of a zero deadweight is misplaced in this context. If something sounds too good to be true then it probably is! For a tax to be fiscally effective it has to reduce our spending power to create the room for Governments to spend by approximately the same amount. Taking a sum of money from ordinary people who spend most of what they earn will do that effectively enough. In this sense it is a necessary weight, or a burden, to be imposed on us all. The ‘dead’ part is a meaningless emotive addition.

    On the other hand, taxing the assets of the rich, including the land they own, would have to be ultra high to have any effect on their spending power. So if we decide to do this it has to be for a different reason from what some would consider to be the provision of spending money to government. And we can only do it once to reduce the inequalities in society. It isn’t going to be a sustainable source of revenue.

  • The deadweight loss of taxation has to be calculated for any new tax to assess the impact of the tax on demand for goods and services (deadweight loss consists of the loss of consumer surplus for buyers plus the loss of producer surplus for sellers who do not participate in the market for reasons other than the price of the product or service, resulting in less total surplus for the economy) https://www.investopedia.com/terms/d/deadweight-loss-of-taxation.asp. Virtually all taxes will have some deadweight loss reducing the receipt that the exchequer can expect, some taxes more than others. It is why a 1% increase in income tax will generate closer to £4 billion rather than a nominal calculation on pre-tax incomes of £6 billion.The exception is Land Value Tax due to the fact that the supply of land cannot be increased to meet an increased demand for land and rents increase with increases in income as a consequence.
    Adult social care can be equitably funded by a residential land Value tax that can be deferred until a property is sold or bequeathed by those who choose to do so. The system emulates the current system of using housing equity to fund care. However, it spreads the cost across all homeowners, not just those unlucky enough to incur catastrophic care costs in their final years as a result of diseases like Dementia which are not covered (unlike cancer care which is covered by NHS funding).
    Andy Burnham ran for the labour leadership on a Land Value Tax campaign https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2010/sep/02/land-value-tax-labour-andy-burnham.

  • Mark Valladares was correct in his supposition that a debate/discussion on social care would be ‘gatecrashed’ by the usual suspects with their pre-occupation and pet theories about economic minutae.

    It would have been more impressive if people put their minds to a constructive debate on social care provision and on what form/structure it would take. For my part I have huge reservations and concerns about the private ‘for profit’ system which is tottering towards the brink, which pays poverty level wages and chases local government contracts in a race to the bottom in ever decreasing circles.

    Come on, you economic guru chaps……… how do you get a high performing well paid well funded social care system which puts people first before profits ? Chewing the cud on taxation policy ain’t going to fix it. Most of us are going to need it sooner or later.

  • These are comments from the director of policy at the Kings Fund https://www.lgcplus.com/services/health-and-care/dilnot-very-disappointed-by-social-care-cap-announcement-18-11-2021/
    “It is clear that those with under £106,000 do little better than under current system and a lot worse than under the Care Act [Dilnot proposals]. It’s only when you have more than £186,000 that the government system leaves you no worse off than the Care Act.”
    Andrew Dilnot commented ““The cap is less generous than I wanted it to be and the outcome is a bit lower. But nonetheless it moves us from the world we are now, which is an entirely means tested regime which exposes the whole population to catastrophic costs, to for the first time a national risk pool for social care.”
    These issues are not going away. Each year there will be above inflation increases required to meet state and public pensions as well as growing health and social care needs as more and more baby boomers retire and reach the age when healthcare needs are at their greatest.
    One generation cannot sit on housing wealth while expecting a smaller cohort of the working generation to provide for all their needs. There is going to have to be a mechanism for the transfer of at least part of that housing wealth to the younger generation in one form or another.

  • Peter Martin 24th Nov '21 - 10:28pm

    @ David Raw,

    “Come on, you economic guru chaps……… how do you get a high performing well paid well funded social care system which puts people first before profits”

    You tell me!

    If you try to do it the traditional Lib Dem way, you’ll calculate what you think it will cost then you calculate how much income tax, VAT and other taxes, will have to rise “to pay for it”. You do the same for whatever extra you want to spend on education, housing, the NHS etc.

    You soon realise that there’s no chance your voters will wear it and will go back to the Tories if you seriously lay it all out before them in an election manifesto. So you water it down, try to make the best of it, at the same time as making lots of claims that the Lib Dems, unlike the other main parties, have a ‘fully costed’ election manifesto, and are the only one that can be trusted with the nation’s finances.

    If that’s your view there’s no point in asking the question in the first place There’s no point listening to economists like Stephanie Kelton who might be able to offer some suggestions on a better approach.

    https://www.currentaffairs.org/2020/11/interview-stephanie-kelton-talks-mmt-and-more

  • I agree with @David Raw that we need practical solutions. But disagree with him when he adds the proviso, “how do you get a high performing well paid well funded social care system which puts people first before profits” (My bolding).

    I really don’t understand why people are so anti-private sector and anti-profit involvement in health/social care. Look at food production and distribution: Getting food to people is about as essential a thing as it’s possible to have – if anything, even more crucial to our lives than social care. And it’s all done entirely by the private sector – and all entirely for profit! And no-one complains! In fact I suspect most people would implicitly understand that having the private sector work for profit in a competitive market is exactly the reason why it’s all done so efficiently and therefore food is so plentiful and cheap to buy. Yet when it comes to health and social care, any suggestion of the private sector and for some reason, half the political world throws their arms up in horror. I don’t know what the best solution to improving social care and delivering it efficiently is, but I’m pretty sure we’re not going to find it if we approach the problem already wanting to just dismiss out of hand anything that involves profit or the private sector.

  • Simon [email protected] I spent the majority of my working life in the food industry, ie a Grocer, yes the food industry does work on profits but it is extremely competitive and that is why prices and service are geared to attract the public unlike care homes who have a ready market with people who are desperate for that service and have little alternative when their relatives are seeking help at crucial times in their lives, something must be wrong when a relatively wealthy country like ours cannot find a way to help its citizens in their time of need without forcing them to rely on greedy profiteers in the private sector who have little or no competition? I admit such a solution will not be easy to find but the people in charge should not just wash their hands of the subject and simply allow these private companies to continue in the way they are.

  • Nonconformistradical 25th Nov '21 - 12:04pm

    @Simon R
    Mightn’t the issue of a ‘competitive market’ be a key factor in peoples’ feelings?

    Most of us will have at least some choice about where to buy food. (I’m sure there are some people who have very little choice on the grounds if poverty).

    But how do you achieve a competitive market in provision of medical facilities?

    And shouldn’t we consider the USA where leaving aside from such facilities as medicare and medicaid for many people getting sick can leave them in serious financial trouble?

    And I guess many would regard the privatisation of the railways in UK as not a great success.

  • @Nonconformistradical: Yes, I think you’re right about competitive market being a factor.

    It occurred to me after I sent my post that one difference – as you kinda hint at – is that with food, we each buy our own food from a choice of shops. And that means that the customer and the end-user are the same person, and we can immediately change if we don’t like the product/service in one shop. That gives shops and food manufacturers a huge incentive to be efficient and to improve. But for social care, it’s different because – if I’ve understood it correctly – the council will contract with a company (in effect, bulk-buy on behalf of all the people who need social care), and the actual end-users (the people needing the care) then get no say in which company is used, and no chance to change if someone else can provide the service better/cheaper. That must stifle both competition and the opportunities for innovation. Maybe therefore part of the solution requires us to think about making the social care market more competitive and trying to shift it so the people receiving the care get to choose who provides their own care?

  • Nonconformistradical 25th Nov '21 - 2:08pm

    To add to my previous posting..

    Passports: Delivery firm apologises for UK delays
    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-59409509
    “A delivery company has apologised amid reports that people are facing lengthy delays receiving their passports and some have had to cancel travel plans in the run-up to Christmas.

    TNT, which is owned by FedEx, has an exclusive contract to deliver travel documents for the UK Passport Office.

    But there are reports of delivery dates being delayed multiple times, with some people still waiting after a month rather than the standard two days.”

    Note – Exclusive contract! So what happens when they do a poor (that’s the polite version) job?

  • Barry Lofty 25th Nov '21 - 2:33pm

    That’s what I said!!

  • Chris Moore 25th Nov '21 - 5:00pm

    @Nonconformistradical: there are many delays in the receipt of private and public services currently. Witness the thread about ambulance services as one of many examples. Windrush pay outs etc etc

    So I don’t think this can be put down to the a priori inferiority of one or the other methods of delivery.

    Post- Brexit and post-pandemic constraints on personnel are hampering services across the board.

    Btw just prior to COVID, my Spanish son had his first Brit passport delivered to Spain by the company you mention in record time. Less than 24 hours.

    @Mark Valladares and Peter Martin: Mark, you have hit the nail on the head. Many believers in MMT (modern market theory or magic money tree depending on where you’re coming from) are drawn into giving the impression that governments don’t have to tax in particular situations.

    This is, of course, a caricature of their own theory, as taxation is seen in MMT as a means of controlling private spending power, allowing givernments to spend instead. Unfortunately, MMT theorists are never clear about how much taxation is necessary. It’s only one of the many glaring weaknesses of MMT.

    Later in the thread, Peter cajoles the Lib Dems for not adopting MMT in their economic thinking and hence being more relaxed about matching spending and taxes – at least in election rhetoric.

    But no major party in Britain has adopted MMT, partly because it gives no guidance on many crucial practical aspects of government. Partly because many with economic training (like myself) have profound doubts about the theory.

    I do like the theory, as it re-thinks some aspects of macro-economics. However, it’s only a theory, though proponents often give the impression that they are talking about things-in-themselves.

    Peter, given your love of discussing with Lib Dems, isn’t it time you joined the party, as a dissenting voice.

  • @Chris Moore. Totally agree when you say, “there are many delays in the receipt of private and public services currently“. I would add that, one of the problems in the public/private debate tends to be:

    Private contractor screws something up: People immediately blame privatisation and presume (without evidence) that a public company wouldn’t have messed up.
    Public sector screws something up: People immediately and (without evidence) blame lack of funding, ignoring that sometimes, organisations, whether public or private, do quite genuinely make mistakes and screw things up.

    In reality, what you need to do is find out what happened, and what caused the apparent screw-up, before you start making judgements.

  • Peter Martin 25th Nov '21 - 10:31pm

    @ Chris Moore,

    “taxation is seen in MMT as a means of controlling private spending power, allowing governments to spend instead.”

    This is true. Who’s said anything different?

    “governments don’t have to tax in particular situations.”

    This isn’t true. They always have to impose some taxation. But it doesn’t always have to equal the level of taxation. Sometimes it has to be more! But usually, in the UK, it is less.

    “Unfortunately, MMT theorists are never clear about how much taxation is necessary”

    Primarily, it’s just enough to keep inflation in check. This will depend of a variety of factors including the levels of spending in the economy, including by government, and the saving requirements of everyone else. There are other reasons for taxation. Such as to discourage harmful activities like smoking and to reduce inequalities in society.

    “But no major party in Britain has adopted MMT”

    This is a bit like saying no one has adopted the Maxwell’s Equations. They don’t have to. They are pretty good descriptors of how electromagnetic radiation propagates.

    MMT is seen as originating from the left but many hard headed financial analysts make use of it their day to day work. One was recently quoted as : “For me an economic approach must help me understand the world, and provide me with some useful insights (preferably about my day job — investing). On those measures, let me assure you that M.M.T. thrashes neoclassical economics, hands down.”

    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/05/business/economy/mmt-wall-street.html

    “… partly because it gives no guidance on many crucial practical aspects of government.”

    What guidance are you looking for? If the PTB in the EU had, for example, asked any MMT economist about introducing a common currency they’d have been told in no uncertain terms “Don’t do it !!!”.

  • Peter Martin 25th Nov '21 - 10:39pm

    Sorry. Should be “They always have to impose some taxation. But it doesn’t always have to equal the level of govt expenditure …”

  • @Chris Moore: You said to Peter, “isn’t it time you joined the party, as a dissenting voice.“. I’m intrigued. Join as a dissenting voice? How does that work? I always thought joining a party implied a reasonable degree of support for that party, not merely a love of debating with its members.

    @Peter Martin: You are making a lot of assertions about the validity of MMT. Out of interest, what economic training do you have, on which to base those assertions?

  • Peter Martin 26th Nov '21 - 10:21am

    @ Simon R,

    I try to avoid assertions in favour of explanations. If you feel they are inadequate then I’ll have another try.

    My background is in Physics and Engineering rather than Economics. I wouldn’t agree this is a disadvantage. Both require an ability to figure out how things work, whether that is the universe itself or being able to follow a circuit diagram in electronics.

    The curious thing about Economists, and the Economics profession generally, is their total inability to reach any kind of consensus. You can find an “expert” to agree with just about whatever view you might care to take. So called expert opinion doesn’t really count for much. We’re all on our own.

  • The Times reports https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/care-homes-face-90-an-hour-bill-for-agency-nurses-tmdch83d8:

    “Care homes are being charged more than £90 an hour for agency nurses who are vaccinated as staff shortages reach critical levels across the country.

    The scarcity of nurses and carers has left care homes and hospitals scrapping over agency workers and even led to shift bookings being “gazumped”, just as a buyer would offer more money to beat a rival to a new home.
    A shortfall in staff has been exacerbated by the introduction of compulsory vaccination for care workers on November 11. The deadline for NHS staff to be fully vaccinated is April 1.
    Geoff Butcher, chief executive of Blackadder Corporation Ltd, which runs six homes in the West Midlands, said: “We’re at a point where it’s financially just cripplingly unviable.”

    Local authorities need to be able to pay £200 to £250 a week more for residential care home to maintain the financial viability of care homes that have up to now relied on cross-funding by self-funders that will now be capped in the future.

  • Barry Lofty 28th Nov '21 - 3:32pm

    Care homes maybe having problems coping with staffing levels at the moment due to the pandemic and vaccination rules and that will certainly not help with the cost of care issue but that does not excuse the massive profits they have made in the past at the expense of people who have no other choice when such help is urgently needed.

  • Barry,

    the care crisis is as much in domiciliary care as it is in residential homes. Patients in Sheffield are being treated in ambulances as beds are blocked by elderly patients who cannot be discharged because there are no care workers to look after them in their homes https://www.thestar.co.uk/news/politics/social-care-crisis-patients-treated-in-ambulances-outside-sheffield-hospitals-because-of-beds-shortage-3469110
    In the care home sector there has been little local authority investment for decades. 84% of care home beds in England owned by private firms, mostly smaller family run businesses. The larger operators are private equity firms carrying high levels of debt that would be unsustainable if interest rates start to increase significantly.
    Age UK is calling for for a new national system that’s free and available to everyone when they need it https://www.ageuk.org.uk/our-impact/campaigning/care-in-crisis/
    The problems come back to funding in the end and the only people who can solve the funding problem are homeowners https://www.libdemvoice.org/a-residential-land-value-tax-approach-to-funding-adult-social-care-59639.html

  • Barry Lofty 28th Nov '21 - 6:14pm

    [email protected] Thanks for the links especially the Age uk article, a charity that does impressive work for the elderly and I understand the recent cap is a great step in the right direction I just hope it is just the beginning of great change in our care homes debacle!

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