Social care minister Gillian Keegan has claimed the government’s new white paper on adult social care provides an “ambitious 10-year vision”.
Ms Keegan told MPs that many of the sector’s issues are so problematic “that successive governments over decades have decided to duck them rather than deal with them but this Government is determined to get it right.”
Launching the paper, she explained that it was “underpinned by three core principles” – to ensure “everybody has choice, control and support to live independent lives”.
Last week the government was criticised by a number of its own MPs over plans to change the calculation of the social care cap.
The new proposals will see those eligible for state support left unable to count the money towards the cap. Critics say the changes would significantly disadvantage the poorest in society.
She emphasises that the £300 million investment would “support local authorities to increase the range of new supported housing options”.
Ex-health secretary Jeremy Hunt reiterated his stance that the plans were “three steps forward, two steps back”.
He told the Commons this afternoon: “The step forward which we should acknowledge is the introduction of a cap. Whatever the arguments about what counts towards the cap, having a cap will make a big difference to many people and that is welcome.”
He said the local authorities that organise the care are “barely” allocated enough to deal with “demographic change and the national living wage increases”.
He also highlighted that it was “hard to see an end to the workforce crisis which leaves 40 per cent turnover in many companies”.
He said the minister must rollout better measures to “deal with those huge problems”, as hospital wards “continue to be full of people who should be discharged and older people not getting the care they need because the carers do not exist.”
Liz Kendall, Labour’s shadow minister for social care also criticised the plans, claiming that they had “two central flaws” as they “utterly failed to deal with the immediate pressures” of waiting lists and staff shortages.
She also complained that the proposal did not outline “more fundamental reforms we need to deliver a care system fit for the future”.
“Where was the long-term strategy to transform the pay, training, terms and conditions of care workers to deliver at least half a million additional care workers by 2030 just to meet growing demand?” she went on.
Commenting on the publication of the Government’s adult social care reform White Paper, People at the Heart of Care, Sally Warren, Director of Policy at The King’s Fund said: “The overall vision in the White Paper is the right one and if delivered could significantly improve the experience of people receiving care and those who work in the sector. However, the steps outlined don’t go fast or far enough to achieve this vision and the funding allocated to deliver it is insufficient. In particular, although there are some welcome commitments on training and skills for staff, there is little to tackle poor workforce pay and conditions and high vacancy levels in the sector.