Social care levy plan 'may not meet our winter needs', Norfolk County Council leader warns
Norfolk County Council's leader has welcomed government plans for the increased funding of social care – but fears they won't even solve the sector's financial problems this winter.
Proposals for a new health and social care levy, which will raise National Insurance contributions by 1.25 per cent from April next year, have been announced today.
In a Commons statement, the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, said the measures would reform the social care sector, as well as delivering an NHS catch-up programme to clear the backlog of cases caused by the coronavirus crisis.
Council leader Andrew Proctor said this afternoon: “Bill Borrett [adult social care portfolio holder] and I have pressed the Government, repeatedly, to address the real and mounting pressures on care services, which threaten to drag down the budget of every major council.
“So, I welcome today’s announcement for additional funding for care services.
But he continued: “I am concerned that today’s announcement will not be sufficient to meet this council’s immediate and pressing need this winter and next year.
“Most of the money is going to the NHS, as they have significant financial challenges on the back of the Covid pandemic, but so do our people’s services for adults and children.
“Social care cannot be in second place after NHS needs have been met. There is also the fact the timing could mean that we have two years to wait before we see the full positive impact.
“Government promised to fix the social care funding crisis so social care, which has played such a crucial role in recent months and still does, should get the funding it needs and deserves.
“If this goes through it is only a partial fix, regrettably omitting additional money to cover the whole of our front line social care remit.
“I repeat my council’s offer to work with ministers and create a fair and sustainable system of funding for all aspects of social care.
“After all, councils are the day-to-day experts on the delivery of social care and we know where additional funding should be deployed.”
Under the proposals, anyone with assets under £20,000 will have their care costs fully covered by the state from October 2023, while those with between £20,000 and £100,000 will be expected to contribute to their costs but will also receive state support.
No-one will have to pay more than £86,000 for care costs in their lifetime.
But the plan has been criticised for breaking a Conservative manifesto commitment from the 2019 General Election that there would be no increase in either income tax or National Insurance.