Stephen Burke is director of United for All Ages and Good Care Guide
Stephen Burke is director of the ‘think and do’ tank, United for All Ages, and the trip advisor style website, Good Care Guide. United for All Ages aims to create stronger communities and a stronger Britain by bringing different generations together. This includes promoting and developing shared sites where for example an older people’s housing with care scheme and a nursery share space and activities. Previously Stephen has been chief executive of two national care charities and the leader of a London borough. Currently he is also chair and trustee of several housing, care, ageing and family charities and chair of finance at North Norfolk NHS Clinical Commissioning Group.
The co-location of care for young and old makes sense in so many ways. As nurseries and care homes struggle to avoid closure, there are rays of hope on the horizon. Here is a model of care that works for all generations.
Tackling intergenerational inequity is the challenge of our times. Economic measures are required urgently to address the housing crisis and develop fairer taxation. But we also need to bring older and younger people together to discuss mutual concerns and provide shared spaces which can promote stronger understanding and trust between people of all ages.
Care vouchers would not support integration and would make paying for care even more complex than it currently is. It's not the long-term solution that older and disabled people and their families desperately need.
Back in 2010 the coalition government asked Andrew Dilnot to lead a commission on care funding. He duly reported in 2011 with his proposals including a cap on the cost of care. The government - rightly in my opinion - then in 2015 decided not to implement the cap, set at £72,000, and 'postponed' its implementation until 2020.
The government has recognised that care is in crisis. The Budget has provided some more 'sticking plaster' emergency funding for care via local authorities. How that £2 billion will be distributed and used over the next three years remains to be seen.
By all means have a debate on whether we should raise more taxation from income or wealth, but let's do it as part of a debate about government finances. Enough of the dead cats and red herrings! It's time for a new vision for better care and support.
On 8 March the Chancellor must show that he understands both the immediate care crisis and the need for a radical and sustainable long term solution. Older and disabled people and their families and carers have been waiting too long for the answer. Let's hope that their expectations aren't dashed yet again.
A new vision has to win popular support. Universality is key to ensuring buy-in from the whole population and to tackling the unpopular and fragmented local variations that currently exist. Universality is also critical to raising the status of care and caring, and the value placed on care.
The government's long-awaited white paper on housing - due to be published shortly - is widely expected to feature measures to promote downsizing by older homeowners. The proposals are predicted to include exemptions on stamp duty for older people moving to smaller properties, thereby freeing up larger homes for younger families as part of the answer to the housing crisis.
Ending age apartheid and promoting social integration between generations can help build a country for all ages, where we are united not divided. In Brexit Britain that must be an ambition worth sharing and pursuing.
An extraordinary second Monday in December may have heralded long-awaited government action to tackle the care crisis. With more than a million older people not getting the help they need and cash-strapped local authorities squeezing fees to fragile care businesses, the care system seems close to collapse. Now all eyes are on the government's funding settlement for councils later this week. Will it simply allow councils to raise council tax to fund care or will it offer something more fundamental?
14/12/2016 17:12 GMT
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