Leonard Cheshire campaign
Investment in social care could generate up to £20 billion for the economy by helping disabled people into work, a report by Leonard Cheshire has revealed.

If the government reforms social care it could boost the economy by £6 billion to £20 billion, including £1-4 billion in income tax.

The new findings from leading disability charity Leonard Cheshire show social care has the potential to pay for itself, with previous studies indicating an additional £2-£12.2 billion is needed annually to bridge the social care funding gap.

More widely available social care, the charity states, would allow many disabled people to increase their income through entering work, progress existing careers or increase their working hours. More importantly, it would empower disabled people to live their lives as they choose.

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The government’s focus to date has been making social care work for people aged 65 plus, Leonard Cheshire stated. This is despite a third of all people who draw on social care being aged 18-64.

Leonard Cheshire’s new campaign, Care for Equality, aims to highlight the empowering potential of social care for working-age disabled adults.

The charity is calling on the government to urgently invest in care and work with disabled people to ensure social care reforms offer them choices and personalised options, so it fully meets their needs. It is also asking the government to reform how care staff are paid and to fund training.

Leonard Cheshire’s research also uncovered claims that current assessment processes lack an in-depth understanding of disabled people’s lives. Individuals raised concerns to the charity, it says, about eligibility criteria for social care, with one person claiming she was told that she was “not disabled enough to have the social care support I wanted”.

The pandemic was found to have disrupted many individuals’ care, with reductions in the number of hours received and long waits for specialist equipment.

The charity’s CEO, Ruth Owen OBE said: “Economic arguments shouldn’t be the reason to reform social care, but as our research shows, they should no longer be a barrier. We want the government to have serious conversations with disabled people about social care, so it can meet their needs and support their life aspirations.

“Social care isn’t just about getting up and washed, though this kind of support is vital. It’s also about people being able to see friends and family, being able to travel, have hobbies, have a job, or seek higher education.

“The current government isn’t the first to kick the proverbial social care can down the road, but it needs to be the last. No more excuses, no more stalling – investing in care benefits everyone.”

Leonard Cheshire Director of Policy Gemma Hope added: “Disabled people have a right to social care, so we look forward to hearing how the government will make it work better for everyone who needs it.

“So many of us will need the extra support social care can provide in our lifetime. It’s in everyone’s interests for social care reform to be delivered as a priority.  The Autumn’s Comprehensive Spending Review is an opportunity for some serious investment.

“This is about more than money though. Disabled people must be involved in how social care is reformed to ensure any new system offers choice and the chance for person-centred care. We hope that our new data is a wake-up call for the government.”

The charity is calling on the public to visit its website to find out how they support its Care for Equality campaign for urgent social care reform.

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