Church of England calls for radical social care reform

Thu,26 January 2023
News Health & Social Care

England’s senior church leaders, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, have published a new report which asks for tax rises to fund a new NHS-style universal social care system that could cost an extra £15bn a year.

Their calls come in support of the one million older and Disabled people off the back of a Church of England inquiry into what the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby called “a collective sin” of inaction to fix “our broken social care system”.

England’s most senior church leaders want tax rises to fund a new NHS-style universal social care system that could cost an extra £15bn a year, with costs shared between individuals, households and businesses.

The call comes four months after the Prime Minister abandoned Boris Johnson’s plans to raise taxes to fund social care, which has a knock on the NHS which is costing lives.

The Archbishops said that social care must be a “universal entitlement on a par with the NHS” instead of being doled out via the “meanest of means tests”. Measures sought include paid leave for the UK’s five million unpaid carers, better help for people with moderate care needs, and a system that will let older and disabled people “live the best lives they can” beyond the most basic of needs.

The report recommends £8bn a year to restore funding to 2010 levels; another £7bn for free personal care by 2026 and an urgent review of the £69.70 carers allowance, along with community funding to allow neighbours to care for neighbours in their own homes, and more budget autonomy for those needing care.

“It will cost money, but currently those costs fall to families; they fall to the economy with people not working who are caring; they fall to the NHS in terms of waste,” said the co-chair Dr Anna Dixon.

DR UK’s Fazilet Hadi said: “The report offers a bold vision for care and support based on the equality of Disabled people’s lives. It asserts that care and support should be about enabling Disabled people to learn, work, have fun and social connection and rejects the notion that care is solely about washing, dressing and eating.

It calls on people with lived experience, civic and faith groups, charities and government to work together to develop a whole society approach to care and support and  asks that the system for social care is radically redesigned.

The question for Disabled people struggling to receive adequate care and support, to recruit Personal Assistants or to pay soaring care charges  is, will this report make a difference? The current Government is unlikely to embark on any radical funding or reform programme but will this report provide future governments with a blueprint for change?”