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IPPR - Mayors ‘best placed to solve social care crisis’

The Mayor of London and the soon-to-be-elected Mayor of Greater Manchester are best placed to link health care with social care – and must be handed powers and money to solve the social care crisis, according to a leading think-tank.

Current ‘devo-health’ plans are more ‘delegation than devolution’ and should go further – with a new ‘devo-health+’ system needed designed to solve the care crisis, the new report from IPPR argues.

The robust accountability of the Mayoral model, with voters able to judge candidates’ records on social care at Mayoral elections, offers the best route to make sure the NHS and social care are joined at a local level, the study says – with the public knowing exactly where the buck stops.

Under this model, the Mayor of London and the Mayor of Greater Manchester would see full devolution of health powers, in exchange for increased accountability to the public. Mayors would be put in charge of chairing the local health and care management body: powerful bodies which control local health and social care purse strings.

IPPR North recently called for the government to reboot the devolution agenda in areas yet to agree devo-deals by offering a ‘menu’ of new powers with an accountability ‘cost’.

The report also calls for the social care crisis to be funded by new local revenue-raising methods, including:

  • localising ‘sin taxes’ and allowing Mayors to introduce new taxes, such as on sugar or trans fats, as seen in the New York mayoralty
  • giving local areas greater funding devolution, including the ability to introduce new taxes
  • exploring how the NHS and councils can pool social care budgets so these work in the interests of what local people need, rather than the needs of providers. This would be within a national set of basic standards to protect the ‘N’ in the ‘NHS’.

Harry Quilter-Pinner, research fellow at IPPR, said:

“The social care system in England is broken, and it won’t be fixed from a desk in Whitehall.

“While there are huge financing issues associated with social care which won’t be solved by a quick fix, devolving more powers to Mayors will help make sure our health care system and our social care system work-as-one at a local level.

“The Mayor of London and the soon-to-be-elected Mayor of Greater Manchester will have bigger budgets and profiles than most Ministers. But the current system is too confused. By fully devolving budgets and powers to Mayors, the public will know exactly where the buck stops on social care.”

View report here

Contact:

Ash Singleton, a.singleton@ippr.org, 07887 422 789

Notes:

IPPR aims to influence policy in the present and reinvent progressive politics in the future, and is dedicated to the better country that Britain can be through progressive policy and politics. With nearly 60 staff across four offices throughout the UK, IPPR is Britain’s only national think tank with a truly national presence.

Our independent research is wide ranging, it covers the economy, work, skills, transport, democracy, the environment, education, energy, migration and healthcare among many other areas. ippr.org

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