Homecare Association Spring Budget Representation 2023

The impact of the lack of capacity in homecare is clear. Councils have social care waiting lists of more than half a million. The patient flow through NHS hospitals is slow, aggravating delays in planned and urgent treatment, and exacerbating ambulance wait times. A quarter of those waiting to be discharged from hospital are waiting for homecare packages. Careworkers are leaving the sector because their employers cannot afford a competitive wage offer. Meanwhile, families are feeling they have to give up work to provide care and the number of people off work sick due to NHS backlogs is rising – increasing pressure on the national labour supply. Fundamental issues with social care funding need to be addressed.

We estimate that care providers need £28.44 per hour to pay staff a rate equivalent to NHS staff working at the same skill and experience level (Band 3, 2+ years experience). In 2022 our findings indicated that average fee rates paid by commissioners were around £19 per hour. These issues will have been made visible in the Fair Cost of Care exercises. The disparity must be addressed without delay.

The Government must act to ensure that the sector is funded adequately to attract and retain the careworkers that we need.

We also call on the Government to reduce international recruitment costs; make the homecare sector zero-rated for VAT purposes; waive CQC fees; avoid relying on Council Tax for social care revenue; ensure funding to support digitisation and fund the regulation of personal assistants and microproviders.