Dire warnings over the future of social care after a no-deal Brexit must force Government to act now, providers have said.
A leaked Cabinet dossier, known as Operation Yellowhammer, reportedly warns that a rise in costs, particularly inflation, could impact on the care of older and vulnerable people.
It warns that increased inflation would ramp up staffing and supply costs and may lead to provider failure, with smaller providers hit within two to three months and larger providers within four to six months, after a no-deal Brexit.
The Independent Care Group (ICG) says this worst-case scenario document provided yet more evidence of the need to support the social care sector immediately.
The Group’s Chair, Mike Padgham, said, 'Social care is already in crisis with 1.4m people living without the care they need and providers failing. This latest document about the time after a no-deal Brexit warns, potentially, of even worse to come.
'The whole sector needs urgent help, with smaller providers likely to be hit hardest and therefore in greatest need of support. We can no longer wait for the always delayed Green Paper, we have to take steps now to avert what might lay ahead. Social care must be a top priority.'
The ICG says making social care zero rated for VAT would be a good first step to aid providers in dealing with any rising costs.
'Altering VAT would be a start and then we have to very quickly get more funding into social care to avert a disaster brought about through fewer and fewer providers being able to cope with increasing demand,' says Mr Padgham.
He supported the call to recall Parliament to deal with Brexit and the warnings over the future of social care.
'This crisis grows deeper by the day and we cannot wait around any longer whilst people live without the care they need,' he added.
The ICG has written to the Prime Minister inviting him to visit social care providers on the frontline at its base in North Yorkshire to see the challenges facing the sector. It is calling for urgent action to be taken to improve the funding of social care. It states that there is both a human and an economic case for supporting this sector.
The ICG says the past 17 years has seen 13 documents - four independent reviews/commissions, four consultations and five white and green papers on care, and it argues that action, rather than further discussion, is now overdue.