Social care white paper an important step but must be financially backed to pull care sector back from the brink

Natasha Curry responds to the government's white paper for social care reform.

Press release

Published: 01/12/2021

Responding to the government's white paper for social care reform, People at the Heart of Care, Nuffield Trust Deputy Director of Policy Natasha Curry said:

“The white paper for social care in England published today by the government is a first step towards much-needed change to our broken system. The proposals go further than the narrow focus we have seen so far on costs of care and protecting assets and set out a long-term vision but gaps still remain.

“We have been here before. There are positive signs, however, the government must now rise to the challenge and back up words with the cash and bold and urgent action to pull social care back from the brink and deliver this vision.

“There is a question about how thinly the funding committed to these proposals will be stretched. The money allocated must fund the cap on costs and higher means-testing, as well as make care fees fairer, and support providers of care at risk of collapse. Beyond the initial three years of the levy, it also heavily banks on the actions of future governments and the assumptions that funding raised can be diverted from the NHS to social care.

“The sector is in the grasp of a deepening workforce crisis, losing as many as 42,000 staff in the last six months, but with no proposals to significantly address low pay, the strategy to tackle these urgent challenges remains uncertain. There are already long waiting lists for care and councils are already struggling to meet growing needs.

“Reform has been dodged for so long that we now find ourselves in a tough starting position. The white paper today cannot be another missed opportunity to address social care properly and provide real improvements for staff, carers and people who need support now and in the future.”

Notes to editors

  1. The Nuffield Trust is an independent health think tank. We aim to improve the quality of health care in the UK by providing evidence-based research and policy analysis and informing and generating debate.
  2. For all queries or to arrange an interview, contact Simon Keen: 07780 475571 /; or Meesha Patel: 07920 043676 /