Politics

Nine out of ten MPs think social care system is in crisis

90% of MPs believe the nation is ill-equipped to deal with ageing population, according to a survey conducted by a charity for older people

Social Care

Is the social care system in crisis? Nine out of ten of our elected representatives in Parliament think so.

A staggering 90% England’s MPs believe that the current care system is not equipped to cope with the UK’s ageing population, according to a survey carried out by the charity Independent Age.

Some of the pessimism relates to a funding gap, as local authorities struggle to provide for the support needed by thousands of older and disabled people and their families.

Only one in five Conservative MPs think there is sufficient funding for social care services, either in their constituency or across the country. Less than one in ten Labour MPs agree the system has enough money.

A system that isn’t fit for purpose

But Janet Morrison, the chief executive of Independent Age, said the despondency wasn’t simply about cash.

“The problems in social care are about more than simply finding new bits of money to pump into a system that isn’t fit for purpose,” she explained. “To meet current and future demand, we need to take a radically different approach, recognising the status quo has failed.”

Norman Lamb, the Lib Dem MP, urged the government to try, urgently, to build cross-party support for reform of social care system.

“The health and care system in England is creaking at the seams,” he said. “An unprecedented number of older people need support in later life but are finding high-quality care is hard to come by.”

Vital services still face an annual £2.3 billion funding gap

The Local Government Association reacted to the survey findings by calling for the government to help meet the funding gap faced by many councils.

“The extra £2 billion for social care over the next few years is a step in the right direction, but it is only one-off funding which reduces each year,” said Warwickshire councillor Izzi Seccombe, chairman of the LGA’s community wellbeing board.

“Vital services caring for elderly and disabled people still face an annual £2.3 billion funding gap by 2020, which will continue to grow.”

The government has pledged to produce a green paper – an early legislative outline – on the future of social care. But there is still no timetable for action.

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