Archbishop calls for action to fix ‘broken’ care system

The Archbishop of Canterbury has urged the Government to take action to fix the country’s “broken” social care system.

In his new year message, the Most Rev Justin Welby said care homes are “struggling” to deal with rising bills while trying to find and retain the staff they need to keep going.

He said the country – including the Government – needs to “rise to the challenge” of repairing the present system.

His intervention came as he prepares to publish, with the Archbishop of York, the Most Rev Stephen Cottrell, what he described as a “significant report” on social care.

“We know our care system is broken, but it doesn’t have to be. We can rise to the challenge of fixing it. That means action from all of us: you, me, families, communities, government,” he said.

Mr Welby stressed the importance of ensuring the work of carers is properly valued by society.

“Why work as a carer when you might get paid more in less demanding jobs? Caring’s certainly not easy. Good carers are wonderful people to be valued,” he said.

He said his report, due out in a few weeks, will offer a “hopeful vision of our society”.

“One where no one is held back, overlooked or treated as a burden – where families and unpaid carers get support too,” he said.

“Caring goes to the heart of what it means to be human. It is hard, but it can also be the most life-giving thing we ever do. It comes back to that essential lesson: we need each other.”

A Government spokesman said ministers had prioritised social care in last month’s autumn statement making available up to £7.5 billion in support over the next two years.

“This will allow more people to access high-quality care and help address some of the challenges in the sector – including waiting lists, low fee rates, and workforce pressures,” the spokesman said.

“The Government remains committed to delivering adult social care charging reform and supporting those who need it, which is why we are giving local authorities additional time to prepare and providing more funding to help with their immediate pressures.”

Mr Welby’s new year message will be broadcast on BBC1 at 12.55pm on Sunday.