The report also recommended the introduction of free personal care, funded through general taxation, over a period of five years. Photo: iStock

Terming the status of adult social care in the country as a ‘national scandal’, the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee urged the government to act immediately to restore the care quality.

In a new report published today (4 July), the committee suggested an additional £8 billion funding a year to restore levels of quality and access to those observed in 2009-10.

The report, titled Social care funding: time to end a national scandal, also recommended the introduction of free personal care, funded through general taxation, over a period of five years.

“Social care is severely underfunded. More than a million adults who need social care aren’t receiving it, family and friends are being put under greater pressure to provide unpaid care, and the care workforce continues to be underpaid and undervalued,” said Lord Forsyth of Drumlean, chairman of the committee.

In other recommendations, the committee called for higher pay for care workers in publicly-funded care providers to allow them to compete with other local employers. It also directed the government to publish a white paper with clear proposals for change, instead of a green paper.

In 2018, 1.4 million older people had an unmet care need and the number of older people and working-age adults requiring care is increasing rapidly, the report found.

The report also suggests providing the additional funding as a government grant, distributed directly to local authorities as per an appropriate national funding formula.

“Our recommendations will cost money, but social care should be a public spending priority. By 2023-24, the NHS funding will have increased by £20.5 billion per year. This is more than the entirety of local authority adult social care expenditure,” Drumlean said.

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