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Social Care

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:57 pm on 25th February 2020.

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Photo of Jackie Doyle-Price Jackie Doyle-Price Conservative, Thurrock 4:57 pm, 25th February 2020

The issue is that local authorities are commissioning care from local care providers and paying the rate that the individual resident is incurring. It is about what they are prepared to pay for that bill and not the local authorities paying living wages directly to employees. However, that is pushing the risk on to care providers, and we need to acknowledge that there will be workforce challenges for those providers. They will be competing more and more for people. While there is that downward pressure from local authorities on what they are prepared to pay and the upward pressure on wages, the risk is being borne by providers.

Part of the solution is also not just about who pays. We need to be a lot more imaginative about this. We all know that we will live longer—beyond 70—and that we will have more years in life in retirement. Just as we make plans for our pensions, we need to make provision for our homes and how we are going to live in old age. The simple fact is that our housing requirements when we are in our 40s and are raising a family are rather different from what we might require in our 90s. We know that falls are one of the biggest burdens on the NHS, so the fact that we are not encouraging people to make sensible lifestyle decisions about their homes is causing additional cost to the NHS, as well as, potentially, the need for more long-term residential care. One reason why we have that issue is that we have allowed, collectively over decades, so much wealth to be stored in our housing stock that we have encouraged people to behave in a way that makes them want to cling to it. I would like us to look more imaginatively at incentives through the tax system to encourage people to downsize and look at different ways of living. We want to use the planning system to encourage the development of retirement villages where people can purchase extra care.