We are facing a national crisis in our social care system. The reality is that funding is simply not keeping pace with demand.
The recent announcement that the Government will allow councils to increase council tax by 3% in order to fund adult social care may help the situation in some areas, but it also risks creating a postcode lottery where the wealthier local authorities can offer a higher standard of care.
Relying on local authorities to raise sufficient funds will not be enough. Whilst I welcome the additional money the Government announced for social care in the recent Budget - the funding system remains fundamentally unsustainable. We need to have a proper debate about how we are going to fund social care in the long-term. We have an ageing population, and the challenges which it presents are only going to get more severe over time.
We urgently need to develop a social care system that is built along the same lines as our NHS. That means a system that is free at the point of use and does not penalise users on the basis of their ability to pay.