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The Independent Care Group has given a cautious welcome to Conservative promises of a cap on care costs, outlined today in the party’s General Election manifesto.

The ICG said it had heard the promise many times before and wanted to see a cast-iron guarantee that this time it would be delivered.

ICG Chair, Mike Padgham said: “Delivering the Dilnot recommendation of a cap on care costs would be positive and would help people cope with the cost of care and avoid having to sell their homes to pay for it.

“However, this measure has been promised time and time again and has been repeatedly kicked down the road – I think before we cheer this news, we would want to see it actually happen.”

Aside care costs, the Conservatives promised “to give local authorities a multi-year funding settlement to support social care and to attract and retain a high-quality care workforce, make reforms to shape the market for older people’s housing and support unpaid carers”.

Mr Padgham said such “vague pledges” did not deliver the bold reform that social care needs.

“I hear Mr Sunak say that the public are frustrated with him and the Conservatives and say that, yes, I am frustrated that once again social care has been relegated to a paragraph in the manifesto,” he added. “It is so high in the party’s priorities that it was not even mentioned in this morning’s speech. The Conservatives continue to run away from social care.

“We see very little sign of the reform and investment needed to end the current crisis. There is no promise to bring care to the 1.6m people who can’t access it, no measures to properly reward staff and tackle the 152,000 workers shortage and no long-term vision to create a National Care Service and provide proper cradle to the grave care for everyone who needs it.

“After some positive reforms outlined by the Liberal Democrats yesterday, we were optimistic that the Conservatives would follow that with some bold and radical proposals for social care of their own. But it hasn’t happened.

“What is outlined today does not recognise the vital role social care plays in looking after older and vulnerable adults and working side by side with the NHS.

“What Rishi Sunak promised today on NHS healthcare will not be deliverable unless investment and reform are put into social care at the same time. The two work side by side.”

The ICG has been calling on the major parties to make social care reform a major issue at the General Election.

In its manifesto, the ICG calls for the creation of a National Care Service, bringing NHS healthcare and social care under one roof, allied to greater investment in the sector and better recognition and reward for the workforce. It wants to see care provided for the 1.6m people who currently can’t access it and dementia treated like other serious conditions like heart disease and cancer and its treatment funded through the NHS.

Yesterday the Liberal Democrats promised free personal care, a new minimum wage for care workers, a Royal College of Care Workers and an increase in Carers’ Allowance to support unpaid carers.

The ICG says the Covid-19 pandemic, the cost-of-living crisis and staff shortages followed years of neglect and under-funding by politicians from all parties and combined to leave the sector in deep crisis.

• The ICG manifesto has been sent to all the main party leaders. It incorporates the ICG’s Five Pillars of Social Care Reform document, which proposes ring-fencing a percentage of GDP for care, creating a National Care Service, setting a minimum carer wage, establishing a task force for reform and creating fair tariffs for services such as care beds and homecare visits.

Read the ICG manifesto here:


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