Lords tackles social care system

25 November 2011

Members of the Lords, including the former Health Minister and Government spokesperson for older people, debated the future of social care in the UK on Thursday 24 November

Baroness Pitkeathley (Labour), Interim Chair of the General Social Care Council (2001-02), tabled the debate to discuss the report by the Commission on Funding of Care and Support, published in July. 

The Commission, chaired by Andrew Dilnot, was an independent body tasked by Government with reviewing the funding system for care and support in England.

Speaking ahead of the debate, Baroness Pitkeathley said: 

“Many people do not realise that social care does not come free of charge and, although only one in five of us will need it in our lifetime, longer life expectancies mean that more people now require social care than ever before.  The fact that social care is means-tested and is not free like the NHS can come as a huge shock to many people who find themselves needing the help of paid carers and social services later on in life.

“I have worked in the social care sector for many, many years and the report published earlier this year by Andrew Dilnot is the closest I have ever seen to consensus over the issue of how social care is funded.  Although his proposals are by no means perfect, the basics are the best we have and we must be open and honest with people about what it will mean to them financially to access social care.

“The Government have proposed a white paper in April and I will be asking them if they are intending to bring other departments, who will have a vested interest in this issue, on board with the reports’ proposals.  I hope this debate will encourage cross-party engagement and agreement of the basics, allowing us to get on with the job of implementing a new system which will support people in need of social care – no matter what their needs are, their age or their financial status.”

Other Members contributing to the debate included:

Lord Pearson of Rannoch (UK Independence Party) and Lord Lipsey (Labour) are also expected to take part in the debate.

Earl Howe (Conservative) will respond on behalf of the Government.

Further information

Members of the public can attend House of Lords debates and follow proceedings from the public gallery.

Image: iStockphoto

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