Submission to the Health and Social Care Committee Inquiry on Funding and Workforce

Date Posted: Tuesday 13th October 2020

September 2020

The UK Women’s Budget Group has made a submission to the Health and Social Care Committee inquiry on ‘Social care: funding and workforce.’ 

You can read more about the inquiry here. 

You can read our submission here. 

Key points:

  • WBG is in favour of a Universal Care Service that provides non-means tested residential, domiciliary and other forms of care, free at the point of delivery and has equal standing to the NHS.
  • The Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated the long-standing need to reform the social care sector which has suffered from decades of financial neglect and privatisation.
  • Care shortages are widespread, and staff are poorly trained, paid and treated.
  • There is increasing regional inequality in the social care system. These have been exacerbated by reductions in central government funding to Local Authorities since 2010.
  • Staff shortages are high: estimates suggest that there are 100,000[1] social care staff vacancies. This will increase if proposed immigration reforms go ahead as the new system will exclude thousands of care workers on the basis of their low pay and lack of qualifications.
  • The crisis in social care also exacerbates gender inequality since women are more likely to work in care, be in receipt of care and take on responsibility for unpaid care for children, elderly, disabled and/or vulnerable people. This unpaid care work limits women’s opportunities for paid work.
  • WBG calls for a new settlement for social care that provides a stable, sustainable funding base to ensure that rising care needs are met now and into the future.
  • The Universal Care Service should be funded at the national level to avoid the entrenchment of regional inequalities but delivered in response to local need. This investment should include better training, pay and working conditions for all care workers.
  • Investment in care is not only needed to transform our broken social care system, it is also a good way to stimulate employment, reduce the gender employment gap and counter the inevitable economic recession as the UK comes out of lockdown[2].

[1] Skills for Care (2019) The State of the Adult Social Care Sector and Workforce in England

[2] WBG (2020) A Care-led Recovery from Coronavirus