I beg to move,
That this House
notes the growing crisis in adult social care;
welcomes many of the proposals in the Care and Support White Paper including national minimum standards on eligibility, stronger legal rights for family carers, portability of care packages and improvements to end-of-life care;
notes that many of these ideas were proposed by the previous administration, but believes they are now in danger of appearing meaningless without the ability to properly fund them;
is concerned that the Government is considering a cap on individual costs as high as £100,000;
is committed to the important Dilnot Commission principle that protection against the risks of high care costs should be provided for everyone;
and calls on the Government to honour the commitment in its 2010 NHS White Paper to introduce legislation in the second session of this Parliament to establish a legal and financial framework for adult social care.
The issue of how we provide decent care for older and disabled people and their families is one of the biggest challenges facing Britain today. Ten million people in the United Kingdom are now over 65, and that figure will rise to more than 15 million by 2030. The number of over-80s is growing even faster, and is set to double to nearly 6 million in 20 years’ time. Medical advances also mean that people with disabilities are living longer than ever before.
The fact that we as a nation are living longer is something that we should celebrate. There have been many improvements in adult social care over the past 10 years, and I shall say more about that in a moment. However, too many people still face a daily struggle to get the care and support that they need if they are disabled or become frail and vulnerable in their old age. The ways in which we provide and fund care need major reform if we are to deliver a better, fairer and more sustainable system. That reform is vital for older and disabled people and their families who want and deserve a decent system of care and support, but it is also vital for our economy. The Office for Budget Responsibility’s fiscal sustainability report states that the primary pressure on the public finances is our ageing population. Without major changes to pensions and, crucially, to health and social care, the long-term growth of our economy and the sustainability of our public finances could be put at risk.
Last week, the Government had the chance to show that they were prepared to meet the challenge of fundamentally reforming care and support, and many of the promises in their White Paper and draft Bill on social care are welcome. They build on Labour’s achievements when we were in government. Indeed, many of the Government’s announcements were put forward by Labour in our White Paper, “Building the National Care Service”, more than two years ago. They included a shift in the focus of local council and NHS services towards prevention and early intervention to help more older and disabled people to stay living independently in their own homes, and more joined-up NHS and council care to stop families having to struggle with the different services to get the support that they need.