The Government’s publication of its white paper on social care reform- Carers UK responds

Female in mobility chair smiling at a lady sitting on a bench and holding hands in a green space with fallen leaves.

01 December 2021

On 7 September 2021, the Prime Minister announced £5.4 billion for adult social care reform over the next 3 years. At the Autumn Spending Review 2021, it was confirmed that £1.7 billion of this funding would be for major improvements across the adult social care system.

This long-awaited white paper sets out how some of this money will be spent to begin to transform the adult social care system in England, such as new investments in:

  • housing and home adaptations
  • technology and digitisation
  • workforce training and wellbeing support
  • support for unpaid carers, and improved information and advice
  • innovation and improvement

The white paper, People at the Heart of Care, sets out a 10-year vision for adult social care and provides information on funded proposals that we will implement over the next 3 years.

In response to the publication Carers UK's Cheif Executive, Helen Walker, said:

"We welcome the announcements of £25 million to work with the sector to improve services to support unpaid carers, the £30 million to help local areas innovate services, and £150 million to drive adoption of technology across the sector. These all have potential to improve the experiences of unpaid carers. The proposals to encourage digital technology, improve data collection and sharing of data could all make carers’ lives easier. 

“We welcome the fact that sector funding announced today for unpaid carers will focus on breaks and peer support looking at encouraging new and different models of supporting carers.

“However, many unpaid carers tell us they are at breaking point, exhausted and on their knees after more than 18 months caring with little or no outside support right now. 72% have not had a break at all from caring since the start of the pandemic. We are concerned that there is no substantial funding to enable carers to take the breaks they desperately need.  We have already called on the Government to provide £1.5 billion to enable all carers to take a break this winter.

“After years and years of underfunding, unpaid carers have been propping up a system on the brink of collapse even before the pandemic. These proposals come at a point at which, in 2021 as we head into winter, we are experiencing a chronic shortage of services.

Unpaid carers and those they care for are experiencing real hardship and suffering. To truly reform our social care system and make it sustainable, significant investment has to match this vision for change. Without additional money and adequate staffing now, carers will simply not be able to cope in the coming months.”