Government announces social care green paper publication date

17 Nov 17

The government’s long-anticipated green paper on social care will be published in summer 2018.

The paper will set out the government’s proposals on improving care and support for older people and tackling the challenge of an ageing population.

Charities and organisations working in the social care sector called for the lack of funding for social care to be addressed.

Estimates have forecast social care funding faces a £2.5bn gap by 2019-20. This is despite Philip Hammond’s promise of an additional £2bn of funding for social care over the next three years, made in his Spring Budget.

First secretary of state Damian Green admitted that building a long-term solution for social care would require “big decisions”.

He added: “In developing the green paper, it is right that we take the time needed to debate the many complex issues and listen to the perspectives of experts and care users, to build consensus around reforms which can succeed.”

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt said: “We are committed to reforming social care to ensure we can guarantee everyone dignity and security in old age.”

The government said it would be working with a range of experts and stakeholders to draw up proposals in its green paper, which will then go out for public consultation.

Anita Charlesworth, director of research and economics at the Health Foundation, said: “Social care is in desperate need of wide-ranging reform so that it provides fair funding, high-quality support for the most vulnerable and decent working conditions for those who provide care.”

She warned that the ageing population and rising costs of care meant current funding “has simply not been sufficient”.

Charlesworth stated: “As well as a timetable for the green paper the government also needs to address the urgent funding problems facing social care.

“The chancellor needs to make firm commitments in his Budget next week to bridge the growing financial gap between need and available resources.”

Izzi Seccombe, chair of the Local Government Association’s Community Wellbeing Board, shared the view that next week’s Budget had to include extra funds for social care.

She added: “Difficult, brave and possibly even controversial decision-making will be required to secure the long-term future of care and support, not just of older people, but adults of all ages, such as those with learning disabilities, and provide support for carers.”

The LGA also stressed the need to include councils in discussions about social care as well as the importance of a cross-party consensus on the issue.

Recent analysis from the umbrella organisation, which represents local authorities, across the country indicates spending on social care will eat up 60p of every £1 spent by local government by 2020.

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