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Government commitment to free care is a step towards meeting BASW’s Manifesto for Social Work agenda

BASW has warmly welcomed government confirmation of plans for a National Care Service for England that would fulfil one of the five aims set out in its Manifesto for Social Work.

Responding to a white paper issued by the Department of Health today, in which secretary of state Andy Burnham emphasised a commitment to elderly care ‘free at the point of need’, BASW said the move was a positive step towards meeting its Manifesto aim of ‘fair access to services and dignity in old age’.

BASW’s Manifesto for Social Work calls for ‘a funding system for the care of older people which recognises that all forms of care should have the same status as the NHS and are funded either through National Insurance or general taxation’.

Details about how the plan will be funded remain sketchy, with the white paper committing ministers to setting up a cross-party care commission to debate the best way of funding the service for older and disabled people. The plans also defer any implementation programme to 2016 at the earliest and postponed the possibility of a compulsory levy on older people and their estates – referred to as a ‘death tax’ by the Conservative Party.

BASW England manager Ruth Cartwright, invited to attend the white paper launch, expressed regret at the shelving of the “interesting” levy plan and regretted the lack of immediacy, but said the overall thrust of the plan was positive and in line with BASW’s agenda for “a fairer system of funding for growing numbers of people in need of care services”.

BASW will be formally launching its Manifesto next week, to coincide with the expected commencement of the General Election campaign.

View the full Manifesto for Social Work

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