MPs to cut pensions and benefits to help social care crisis

Concessionary bus fares, free prescriptions and TV licences are all under threat

MPs want to solve Britain's social care crisis

Ministers should look at scrapping the pension triple lock, free bus fares and TV licences of pensioners to fund social care, MPs say today.

An all-party report warns care provisions is in crisis with care homes at risk of going bust, the elderly going without care and severe staff shortages.
See also: Average care home costs 'above £29,000 a year'

See also: Delay in introduction of care costs cap 'disappointing'

The MPs say the Government must look at "all options" to find a way of funding social care.

This should include taking money from the triple lock pension guarantee, winter fuel allowance, concessionary bus fares, free prescriptions and TV licences to pay for care.

Credits: Getty

Winter fuel allowances could be hit

Other options are ring-fencing national insurance so it is only used for health and social care or introducing a compulsory social insurance scheme for all workers.

The Communities and Local Government committee says the £2billion extra announced by the Government is far short of what is needed.

It warns that only one in 12 councils believes it will be able to afford to provide the level of care required by law in 2017-18.

The MPs says care homes are at risk of going bankrupt or leaving the market and handing back contracts to councils.

"This accumulation of pressures poses a serious threat to providers' financial viability and providers are failing, exiting the market and handing back contracts.

"The consequence of this for people's care is extremely serious, and the reduction in capacity is causing delayed transfers of care. Providers' profit margins have reduced which affects their ability to invest in the workforce and their capital assets, and deters new entrants to the market," the report says.

Credits: PA

TV licences are free to the over-75s - but that could now change

The crisis has also seen a huge turnover in staff and a rise in the number of unpaid carers, the MPs say.

The report says the turnover rate for nurses working in social care is 35.9%, while 47.8% of care workers leave within a year of starting.

Labour MP Clive Betts, the chair of the Communities and Local Government Committee, said: "We heard compelling evidence of acute threats to care providers' financial viability and an increasing reliance on unpaid carers.

"It is clear there are also severe challenges in the care workforce, with high vacancy and turnover rates, and low pay, poor employment terms and conditions, lack of training and inadequate career opportunities the norm across the sector."

He added: "A long-term fix, working on a cross-party basis and involving the public and social care sector, is urgently necessary to meet the ever-increasing demographic pressures on the system.

Credits: Getty

MPs want the pension triple lock, which guarantees an annual rise, to be scrapped

"This review must be ambitious and consider a wide range of potential funding sources, looking again at age-related expenditure, options such as a hypothecated tax for social care, a compulsory insurance scheme, and differences in how individuals contribute."

A Government spokesman said: "We recognise the challenges councils face in delivering social care and the need for a long-term sustainable solution. That's why we're giving councils an extra £2billion to help deliver these services, taking the total to £9.25billion over the remainder of this Parliament.

"It's also why we're committed to having a fair and more sustainable way of funding adult social care for the future, especially given people are living longer. We'll be setting out our proposals in a forthcoming green paper."

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