The government has published the long awaited Care and Support green paper, calling for a much-needed reform to care services in England.
Health Secretary Andy Burnham outlined three options for the future funding and support of a care system which would provide â€œa pathway to protecting peoplesâ€™ houses and investment in retirementâ€.
Firstly, the green paper proposes a partnership model by which a quarter or a third of costs would be covered by the State, with the individual left to top up the remainder of their care.
The second option involves a voluntary insurance scheme promising a minimal level of free basic care with the Government helping to establish insurance systems to provide cover for the extra costs.
Finally, the Minister detailed the third and perhaps most controversial proposal of a comprehensive system whereby people would be required to pay up to Â£20,000 on retirement to fund their social care package.
In his speech, the Minister paid tribute to carers recognising â€œthe intolerable pressuresâ€ that many carers face and acknowledging their huge contribution calling them the â€œbedrockâ€ of social care.
Alex Fox, Director of Policy and Communications with The Princess Royal Trust for Carers, welcomed the proposals:
â€œWe are pleased to see that the green paper recognises the unfairness of the current system for carers and acknowledges that, given the commitment of families, they should no longer have to take on an unreasonable caring roleâ€.
â€œThe green paper highlights the importance of delivering the National Carers Strategy as part of a fairer system, however it does less to reassure carers that they will no longer find themselves contributing unsustainable, high levels of care, whilst at the same time finding themselves contributing significant financial resources against the cost of care.â€
â€œWe are one of the few countries in Western Europe which gives families less the more that carers provide. We have to find ways of valuing the contributions of carers properly if we are to continue to rely on carers for an increasing amount of our national care services.â€
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