Greens call for free social care for all as Autumn Statement fine print reveals promised cap kicked into long grass

South Tyneside Green Party

19th November 2022

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s refusal to carry out a Tory Manifesto pledge to “fix social care” through a cost cap highlights the urgent need for a radical NHS-style solution, Green co-leader Adrian Ramsay says today.

“Social care should be free at the point of use for all adults,” says Ramsay.

“A fully publicly funded, free at the point of use system would offer people certainty and dignity in times of need.

“Any of us may develop a long-term condition that requires social care support at any point in our lives, as well as in old age.

“Today – and thanks to Hunt’s Budget for many long years to some – people will have to pay the full cost of private social care if they have assets of more than £23,250 and even those who receive some publicly-funded social care end up paying, between them, nearly £3 billion a year towards their support. [1]

“Even the government’s own analysis shows that people’s homes are having to be sold after their deaths to pay care costs. [2]

“Hunt’s Budget postponed a Tory pledge to put an £86,000 cap on social care costs for individuals until beyond the next General Election. Yet local councils are reporting increasing requests for help, with demand from working-age adults in particular increasing by 15 per cent since 2015/16.

“The Dilnot Commission was set up in 2010 and the Tory government claimed to accept its recommendations, but even Dilnot’s partial costs-cap solution has been kicked down the road again [3].

“The Tory government previously said that charges should be capped at £86,000, now it says they should be unlimited for at least another two years. We say they should be capped at zero – social care should be free at the point of use.

“And there are options to fund a new NHS-style service that the Chancellor simply rejects – a wealth tax on the richest 1 per cent [4], a single unified income tax which could raise an additional £24 billion [5], or adding a social care levy to a more progressive tax system are just three examples.

“The funding options are available to be examined in detail, what’s missing is the political will to solve the social care crisis once and for all.”

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