Manifesto 2019

Our next government has a significant opportunity to place the future well-being of older and disabled people at the heart of our nation’s vision for a society which values every citizen.

Supporting older and disabled people to live well and independently at home.

Download the full version of the Manifesto 2019 here

This manifesto urges political parties, and candidates standing for election, to commit to ensuring almost one million older and disabled people receiving care in their own homes can remain healthy and independent, while also enabling family members to combine caring responsibilities with family life and employment.

UKHCA calls on the next government to make the following commitments:

1. Make care and support at home an affordable and available option for everyone who needs it
2. Relieve pressure on the NHS by effective use of homecare
3. Recognise the contribution of homecare workers and develop and expand the workforce
4. Make it easier for people who are willing or able to fund their own care and support at home to plan and pay for services
5. Create a strong and resilient state-funded social care market
6. Ensure the public are protected through consistent social care regulation
7. Promote quality, innovation and best practice in homecare services

1. Make care and support at home an affordable and available option for everyone who needs it

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When asked about their future care needs, people express an overwhelming preference to be supported in their own home and remain part of their established community, even towards the end of their life.

Regardless of whether people are funding their own care, or are supported by the State, strong leadership from central government, based on cross-party consensus, is vital to ensure that people’s preferences are at the heart of our care and health system.

The new government must ensure home-based care and support is available and offered as the first option for everyone who needs it.

2. Relieve pressure on the NHS by effective use of homecare

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Homecare services already play a pivotal role in meeting people’s healthcare needs, helping them to manage medication safely at home and supporting increasingly complex treatment alongside community health services.

Services which promote health and well-being and keep people out of hospital are not always available to people with lower levels of need. Meanwhile, savings made for the NHS by homecare services are not reinvested in social care, because the systems are funded differently.

The new government must recognise that investing in social care is vital for reducing demand on the NHS.

3. Recognise the contribution of homecare workers and develop and expand the workforce

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Over 750,000 people in the homecare workforce not only support almost one million people each year, but contribute to the UK economy by supporting family carers, providing employment and paying taxes.

With up to 40 per cent staff turnover, recruiting and retaining careworkers is already challenging.  The terms and conditions of employment available to careworkers must be competitive within the UK’s labour market. This is vital to attract sufficient recruits, support adequate training and skills development and ensure high quality leadership and management.

Around 16 per cent of the social care workforce are non-British nationals who help make a real difference to people’s lives.[1]   The UK’s exit from the European Union and uncertainty over the UK’s future migration policy will exacerbate existing workforce shortages. 

The new government must develop a national care workforce strategy, improve the status of care as a career and ensure a post-Brexit migration policy which recognises overseas workers’ experience and value.

4. Make it easier for people who are willing or able to fund their own care and support at home to plan and pay for services

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Few people plan for the cost of social care, because the balance of responsibility between the individual and the State is not understood. There are few incentives or financial products to encourage people to do so.

Tax relief would help people pay for their own care.  Changing the VAT status of essential welfare services from ‘exempt’ to ‘zero rated’ would enable social care providers to reclaim the VAT they pay on goods and services, with a minimal loss of revenue to the Treasury, enabling savings to be passed on.[2] 

The new government must develop a national care workforce strategy, improve the status of care as a career and ensure a post-Brexit immigration policy which recognises overseas workers’ experience and value.

5. Create a strong and resilient state-funded social care market

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If adequately funded, the homecare sector could support many more people to live independently at home, rather than in hospital or residential care.  The state-funded social care system in England is estimated to need £8 billion per year to restore care quality and access to 2009-10 standards.[3]

There is little, if any, oversight of out-dated commissioning and procurement by councils and the NHS. Buying care by the minute, especially at inadequate fee rates, continues to harm homecare services.

Social care funding from central government in each UK administration must be ring-fenced and reach front-line services, where it is urgently needed.

The new government must inject an additional £8 billion per year into the system (with proportionate increases for the three devolved nations) and require councils and the NHS to work with social care providers to calculate and pay the real costs of care. Statutory regulators must be empowered to assess the sustainability of local care markets and take action to prevent market failure.

6. Ensure the public are protected through consistent social care regulation

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People who are supported by registered homecare agencies already benefit from national regulators which inspect provider organisations for quality and safety.

Not all the regulators have the powers to oversee whole systems, neither has the law kept up with developing models of care.  The public has less protection if they employ or engage careworkers through private arrangements, or use organisations which solely introduce workers through the Internet.

The new government must develop a national care workforce strategy, improve the status of care as a career and ensure a post-Brexit immigration policy which recognises overseas workers’ experience and value.

7. Promote quality, innovation and best practice in homecare services

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Entrepreneurial flair is visible in abundance in the homecare sector. Many providers are keen to innovate, develop new ways of working and utilise technology to achieve the best outcomes for people in the most efficient and effective way.

If technological solutions were integrated across social care and health, citizens could experience seamless services which are safer and tailored to individuals. Harnessing the power of ‘big data’ will enable better prediction of, and response to, people’s changing needs.

The new government must develop a national care workforce strategy, improve the status of care as a career and ensure a post-Brexit immigration policy which recognises overseas workers’ experience and value.

About this manifesto

This manifesto is intended to inform parties, candidates and voters in the elections to the UK Parliament in December 2019. Social care is a devolved matter for the respective assemblies of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. With the exception of matters relating to the UK’s exit from the European Union and the UK’s future migration policy, social care policy described in this manifesto may relate specifically to the provision of social care in England.

About UKHCA

United Kingdom Homecare Association Ltd (UKHCA) is the professional association of homecare providers from the independent, voluntary, not-for-profit and statutory sectors. UKHCA helps organisations that provide social care to people in their own homes, promoting high standards of care and providing representation with national and regional policy-makers and regulators. The Association represents over two-thousand members across the United Kingdom.

UKHCA’s vision is of a United Kingdom where a choice of high quality, sustainable home-based care is available to everyone who would benefit from it.

For further information on UKHCA or the homecare sector please e-mail [email protected] or visit www.ukhca.co.uk.


[1] Estimates are for England: 7% of the homecare workforce are non-British EEA or EU nationals and 9% from outside the EU .  Skills for Care (2019) Workforce Intelligence Summary Domiciliary care services in the adult social care sector 2018/19. https://www.skillsforcare.org.uk/adult-social-care-workforce-data/Workforce-intelligence/documents/State-of-the-adult-social-care-sector/Summary-of-domiciliary-care-services-2019.pdf

[2] Changing VAT from ‘exempt’ to ‘zero rated’ would also benefit providers to the state-funded homecare sector.

[3] £8 billion per year is believed to be necessary to restore care quality and access to 2009/10 standards, addressing the increased pressure on unpaid carers and local authorities and the unmet need that has developed since then.  House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee (2019) Social care funding.  Paragraph 41. https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld201719/ldselect/ldeconaf/392/39205.htm

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