By Care Planner | September 17, 2020
0% VAT for Social Care is a campaign that is based around a simple, actionable premise.
It is well documented how badly social care requires reform. However, precisely what shape social care reform should take is a far more difficult subject to agree upon.
The campaign has been set up by a consortium of homecare providers who hope to help out social care providers on the front lines.
The name explains it all: absolve social care providers from paying VAT – by the time the Brexit transition is complete in January 2021. It’s a simple idea, yet a rather daunting endeavour. CarePlanner sat down with Diana Stephenson, spokesperson for the campaign, to learn about getting more involved.
Seizing the opportunity
‘Social care has always been a poor relation,’ says Diana. ‘It’s never really been recognised due to the very low levels of awareness that are out there. But it’s a significant market, and more recently we’ve seen care workers being applauded alongside health care workers. So, there is definitely a window of opportunity now to change things as a result of the [COVID-19] pandemic.’
Social care reform is necessary, but it is also complicated. To best cut through the thicket of ideas and proposals, the 0% VAT for Social Care campaign has settled on a simple premise. By removing the burden of VAT from care providers, it aims to inject £40m a year into the sector’s front line.
The benefits of a direct cash influx for providers speak for themselves. The sector is made up of, in the main, small providers who operate under tight margins, and that’s before the costs of providing care skyrocketed.
In your pocket
The key difference between the 0% VAT for Social Care campaign and Government’s current proposed funding solutions is that the money will go straight to providers. One of the major problems with the current situation is Government focusing exclusively on responding to COVID-19 related issues.
The £2.9bn funding announced in March is yet to be felt by many people on the frontline. While £500m announced in August is exclusively to help manage hospital discharges. This campaign aims to circumvent that issue by keeping the money in providers’ pockets, allowing them to reinvest back into their businesses.
If 0% VAT for Social Care campaign is appealing to you, there are lots of ways to join in.
Diana explains:, ‘The main way people can get involved is to email firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re getting a number of people contacting us through that, and then we’re adding them to the database. So, anybody who registered – who either attended or didn’t attend [the introductory webinar] – has now received an email with all the information of what we’re doing. We’re going to update the database, probably every couple of weeks to let them know what’s happening in the campaign.’
The reality of enacting change is a tough one. But it is possible. Vocal support and vociferous action from those within our sector will be required.
Diana continues, ‘Last Friday, everyone was sent a template letter for their local MP and another template that they could use for people in their network that might have some influence. We’ve got a YouTube channel set up now where we’re uploading vlogs and short animated films we’re producing. In the emails we’re sending out every other week, we’ll be telling people what’s been uploaded so people can access the films there and share the YouTube link should they wish.’
Investing for the future
Members of the consortium are committed to reinvesting any VAT savings for the benefit of care workers and the people they support alike.
‘We know that if the sector is going to have longevity, we have to be able to invest in it. It can help to make caring a more attractive profession to come into. We need to keep improving the care worker and the client’s experience. As well as investing in things like the use of technology to enhance care.’
A real chance for social care reform?
It may seem like an impossible task to actually effect change. To reach out into the world and shake it into something different. But social care providers do that every day on a personal level. It is time to do it on a larger one. As Diana made clear to us at the end of our conversation, ‘You’ve got to be positive! If you don’t try, you’ll look back and think why didn’t we try? We’ve got to give it our best shot.
‘What we need is people writing to their MPs, signing up to the database through email, following the Twitter account and engaging with our campaign publicly. We haven’t actually got that long to go, so we do need to get motoring!’
For more information on the 0% VAT for Social Care campaign, follow them on Twitter: @0VATSocialCare