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About the transforming social care reforms

Source: Department for Health and Social Care

Updated 8 December 2021

The Government has a new long-term vision for reforming adult social care in England to make sure that it is fit for the future and fairer for everyone. So that everyone receives the care they need, when they need it, to live the life they want to.

Our vision for social care reform sets out our long-term aspirations for how people will experience care and support in the future. To ensure that:

  • Everyone has choice, control and support to live independently
  • Everyone can access outstanding quality and tailored care and support
  • Everyone finds adult social care fair and accessible.

It has been developed in collaboration with hundreds of organisations and individuals across health and social care, including those with personal experience of drawing on or providing care and support.

Read the social care reform white paper.

In 2020-21 around 840,000 people in England received long-term care support from their local authority. Of these, around 290,000 were between 18 and 64 years old.

Our vision for social care will ensure everyone receives the care they need, when they need it, to live the life they want to

Why reform is needed

Thanks to incredible advances in health and care resulting in better survival rates, better diagnosis and better treatments, more people are living longer than ever before. As well as enjoying longer life expectancies, a growing number of people are also living with more complex needs and may need to draw on health and care services, and support from their family and friends, to be able to live the lives they want to lead.

Social care supports millions of people to live the life they choose. However, we recognise that the social care system could be working better both for people who receive care and support, and for those who care for others. For some their primary concern is being able to have more choice and control over their care. For others their concerns are about meeting the cost of their care or the challenges they face when caring for their loved ones.

The Government is committed to reforming the adult social care system in England, to making care more affordable, and to making sure it works for everyone.

What's changing

Reforming the adult social care system will take time. To accelerate this process, the Government will be investing over £5.4bn over the next three years, starting from April 2022.

Find out more about how we're improving social care below: 

  • We will introduce a cap on personal care costs of £86,000 to protect people against unpredictable and potentially unlimited care costs, and a more generous means test so more people receive financial support with their care costs.
  • We will support local authorities to provide more supported housing for those who need it to help them live as independently as possible, with at least £300m of new investment.
  • We will accelerate the digitisation of social care, making the most of technology to support people to live independently and improve their quality of care, backed by a £150m fund.
  • We will support local authorities to launch innovative new ways of delivering care in the community, improving the choice of care available to individuals through a new £30m Innovative Models of Care Programme.
  • There will be a new professional development plan for the social care workforce to improve care quality, make the profession an attractive career, and provide more mental health and wellbeing resources with at least £500m funding.
  • We will invest up to £25m to work with the sector to kickstart a change in services to support unpaid carers and improve their availability across the country.

About the Health and Social Care Levy

To transform the adult social care system and put social care on a more sustainable footing for the future, the Government is introducing a new UK-wide 1.25% Health and Social Care Levy from April 2022.

The money will be ringfenced to provide additional funding for health and social care. Some of the funding will be used to support adult social care reform and to protect individuals and families against unpredictable and potentially unlimited care costs. The remainder of the money will be spent on other priority areas including addressing the waiting lists for non-emergency tests or treatment caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Levy will be based on National Insurance contributions (NICs) and will also apply to individuals working above State Pension age. The Government will also increase dividend tax rates by 1.25%.

Together this will make available around an additional £12 billion per year on average for health and social care services across the UK.

Find out more about the social care reforms


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