New Health & Social Care Plan: Build Back Better

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Boris Johnson announced yesterday a new health and social care plan: Build Back Better. The plan proposes a 1.25% NI and Dividend tax rise which will raise an additional £36 billion for the NHS and Social Care across the UK over the next 3 years.  

Key Proposals of the New Health & Social Care Plan

From October 2023, people will no longer pay more than £86,000 in personal care costs but will still pay for food and accommodation. Once people have reached this cap, local authorities will be responsible for covering a persons continued personal care costs.

People with less than £20,000 in assets will not have to pay towards their costs from their assets although they may have to contribute from their income. People with between £20,000 and £100,000 in assets will get means-tested help towards costs from their local authority.

Boris Johnson also promised that the long awaited white paper on Social Care reform will be published shortly.

What this means for the Social Care Sector

The 1.25% NI and Dividend Tax rise will raise £36 billion over the next 3 years however only £5.4 billion pounds will be given to Social Care and the rest will go to the NHS.

From this 5.4 billion pounds, £2.5 billion is expected to be spent on the new £86,000 personal care cap leaving £2.9 billion pounds left to reform Social Care over the next 3 years.

With the Health & Social Care Commons Select Committee concluding last year in their Social Care: Funding and Workforce inquiry that a £7 billion increase in annual funding can only be a starting point for the social care reform, £2.9 billion over 3 years is considered by many in the Social Care Sector as a start but not enough. 

Edel Harris, Chief Executive of the learning disability charity Mencap, said: 

“The social care crisis has been a contentious issue for decades, and we welcome the Government’s brave move to try to tackle it. While there are some welcome changes in today’s announcement, it doesn’t address the short-term funding crisis and we can’t see how the proposed cap on care costs will benefit people with a learning disability.  

“Today’s announcement won't be enough to fix the crisis that is happening right now. People who need care are missing out, others are having their support cut and some are being asked to pay towards their care which they simply can't afford. 

“Every day, carers are leaving the profession because they don't get paid enough for the skilled work they do. We’ve seen nothing to reassure us that hard-working care workers will get a much-deserved pay rise, even though providers like ourselves are losing staff to become delivery drivers and supermarket workers. The risks to people and their families in need of care is real if carers continue to leave the sector at the current rate.  

“Reforming social care is the key to rebuilding after COVID-19. We want a social care system that meets the needs of the people who need care and those who provide it – a system fit for the 21st century.”

Professor Martin Green OBE, Chief Executive of Care England, said:

“We have been waiting for a very long time for any concrete plans on the long term sustainability of adult social care reform and as such we welcome the Prime Minister’s announcement today.  We want to go through the plans carefully and it is our hope that social care will be rewarded and recognised rather than playing second fiddle to the NHS.  It is essential that money reaches the frontline.”

“The sector needs help now especially after the many challenges that became even more acute during the pandemic.  We hope these plans will comprehensively address the issues across the whole adult social care sector, including younger adults with learning disabilities and autism. Recruitment and retention of workforce, our best resource, is the most urgent issue at present and it is vital that any long term plans can be brought into play alongside immediate measures. Care workers are everyday heroes and have highlighted their value throughout the pandemic and need to be rewarded and recognised appropriately”

The National Care Forum reacted by saying:

“Of course, this is early days and not all of the announcement is going to work; prioritising the funding of the NHS backlog over social care suggests that the interdependencies between the two bits of the system are still not fully grasped. It cannot be that only £5.4bn of the estimated £36bn will go to social care, especially when it is clear that social care needs additional £7bn now to keep going, as determined by the Health and Care select committee amongst others.”