The Women’s Budget Group (WBG) published a briefing paper on social care in March 2017. The WBG noted that women bore the brunt of the crisis in social care – the majority of those in need of care and the majority of the care workforce, paid and unpaid, are women.
- As a result of reductions in the allocation from central government, local authority social care budgets have fallen by £5bn between 2010 and 2015, for which the recent 2% precept and additional £2bn in the 2017 Spring Budget do not compensate. Further, plans to fund social care increasingly through council tax and local business rates will deepen regional inequalities as the local authorities with the greatest demand for services are those that are able to raise the least through local taxation.
- As a result of spending cuts since 2008-09, the numbers in receipt of social care services has decreased by 33% from 1.5m to 1m adults in 2013-14. It is estimated that approximately 1.86m people over the age of 50 in England (1 in 10) have unmet care needs.
- There are over 6.6m family members and friends providing unpaid care in the UK and 58% of these are women. Reductions in formal care services put a greater burden on unpaid carers and threaten to undo some of the progress made in raising female employment rates in the past 20 years.
- WBG calls on the government to redress the crisis in care by establishing a National Care Service, funded from general taxation, that provides care free at the point of delivery and has equal standing to the NHS.