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'It's a nightmare': Christians urge politicians to tackle social care crisis

by Donna Birrell

Churches are being urged to be more vocal in urging politicians to address the social care crisis.

The call from Francis Davis, a Professor of Public Policy at the University of Birmingham, comes as a former chair of the Care Funding Commission, Sir Andrew Dilnot has challenged politicians to “grow up" and tackle the crisis.

Sir Andrew, who is a Christian, thinks Labour and the Conservatives won't discuss the issue in case they're accused of plotting tax increases.

His report in 2011 laid out several key measures for reform and described social care as the "biggest risk that isn't managed". He recommended a cap on the cost of care and a limit to how much property income should go on paying for care.

The cap’s implementation was delayed by former Prime Minister Boris Johnson in 2022, until October 2025.

The policy promised to limit the amount anyone in England will spend on personal care over their life to £86,000.

Rishi Sunak told Sky News that those reforms were still "on track".

Labour has not explicitly committed to the cap in its manifesto but says it would also bring in the reforms as planned.

The Liberal Democrats have made social care a key part of their manifesto.

Professor Davis told Premier that there are around two million people who need care right now and that they are supported by between four and six million unpaid carers.

He said: “It’s a nightmare that's affecting about eight million people, because the sector has not been taken seriously.

"Because so many of the jobs in the hard end of social care are filled by immigrants or those from minority communities, it hasn’t got that powerful voice. If it was eight million business owners we'd be hearing about it.

“I don't think this is just a Conservative issue because Labour is totally silent on it as well.”

Professor Davis says Christians need to pray for politicians to really address the issue because change “is within our power”.

But he says churches haven’t been vocal enough: “We need to carry out a Commission and raise it in every constituency, with every MP, because this is going to become the great crisis of our time – but the great crisis of our time that we all knew about and did nothing about.”

Four out of five people are estimated to need social care over the course of their lives.

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