Political consensus on urgent need to better fund and fix social care, poll reveals

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Nine out of ten MPs say that local government does not have enough resource to meet the growing need for social care services and three in five believe that the social care budget should be raised by £7 billion a year over the next two years.

These are among the key findings of a major poll of politicians from across the political spectrum carried out by YouGov on behalf of the Health for Care coalition which shows a broad consensus, driven by the tragedy of the pandemic, on the pressing need for widespread social care reform.

Health for Care – a coalition of 15 national health organisations, led by the NHS Confederation – warns that the social care system needs urgent and radical reform and significant investment and is calling on the Government to rapidly deliver on its manifesto pledge to transform the struggling sector.

Other key findings show:

  • over three quarters of MPs believe the budget for social care should be raised. This included almost two thirds who believed that it should be increased by £7 billion a year and almost a quarter who believed the increase should be more than this.
  • a third of Conservative MPs and nearly three quarters of Conservative councillors believe the social care budget should be raised by £7bn or more to plug the funding gap.
  • three quarters of Conservative councillors, and almost half of all MPs think that social care should be funded by a new collective funding mechanism.

The survey reveals a strong political consensus on the need for adult social care reform in England which spans party divides and both national and local government.

It is now imperative that the Government lays out a new plan for social care, which addresses the complex problems it faces including severe underfunding; an overstretched and under-valued workforce; a fragile provider sector; extensive unmet need; a lack of clarity about the cost of care; and a complex system to navigate.

Commenting on the polling, Lou Patten, CEO of NHS Clinical Commissioners, said: “The pandemic has thrown into sharp focus the gaping holes in our social care system, to the detriment of our most vulnerable people. Our social care colleagues are doing their best with the resources they have available, but after years of underfunding the NHS is left to pick up the slack at a time when our health services are most under pressure.

“For too long the Government has dragged its heels on this issue, despite the Prime Minister’s pledge to ‘fix the crisis in social care once and for all’. We cannot wait any longer. Now is the time for the government to take bold action, providing short-term funding to plug the immediate gaps, and setting out comprehensive proposals for a social care system that is sustainable in the long term and delivers for those who need it.”

Read the full press release and comment from other members of the Health for Care Coalition.

The NHS Confederation, on behalf of the Health for Care coalition, will publish a report setting out the full polling data findings later this week.

2 March 2021