Debates between Lord Desai and Lord Kamall during the 2019 Parliament

Adult Social Care

Debate between Lord Desai and Lord Kamall
Thursday 2nd December 2021

(2 years, 5 months ago)

Lords Chamber
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Lord Kamall Portrait Lord Kamall (Con)
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I thank my noble friend for his question and pay tribute to him as one of the authors of a paper on funding social care, which had a number of interesting ideas. I am also very grateful to noble Lords across the House who have approached me with different ideas, including from the Labour Benches, these Benches and the Cross Benches. The Government have looked at a number of plans and have decided on this, but we are in conversation with the private insurance industry, including the ABI and others, to discuss what financial products it can offer in response to the changes. Some people are quite happy to take out insurance policies, but it depends on individual wealth levels and circumstances, and a number of different matters. We hope that there will be a development of the private market, and we are in conversations with the insurance industry. It has told this and successive Governments that, at the moment, there is no private sector solution for social care insurance. I regret that and wish that there was. My noble friend’s idea of the state underwriting it is interesting, but many reports have been written. I know that the noble Baroness, Lady Walmsley, will writhe in pain at this, but we have drafted that letter. Whatever we do, we will be criticised for it, but we will do this. We have set the vision for the first three years and have set the challenge for all of us to come together to provide the best possible social care for the future.

Lord Desai Portrait Lord Desai (Non-Afl)
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My Lords, I want to reinforce something that the noble Lord, Lord Dubs, said: the distinction between unpaid and paid care workers is very unfair because people who have to care do not have a choice whether to do so—they just do not get paid. The noble Lord mentioned his mother looking after her sister—there is no choice in that matter. Something ought to be done to redefine the category of unpaid social worker, perhaps by making such people part of universal credit so that they will get a statutory payment as of right—because they are relieving the state of some expenditure on care and, of course, performing a very useful social function.

Lord Kamall Portrait Lord Kamall (Con)
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The noble Lord makes the very important point that unpaid carers save the state billions of pounds a year with all the work that they do and the love and attention that they give. Sometimes, they do have a choice, but they choose to be carers because they are worried about putting their relative into a home and are not quite sure about that—I understand that. But the fact is that, if they are unpaid, we are looking at how we can support them better. Unpaid carers are very different, and you cannot lump them all into one group: they have different needs and are at different stages of their lives. I emphasise the importance of making sure that we understand how we can personalise that journey for everyone—the cared- for person and the carer. But, if you have given up work, a range of other benefits may be available, and we want to make sure that unpaid carers are equally valued and not penalised for looking after a loved one.