However, free personal care for over-65s was introduced in Scotland in July 2002 and last year expanded to cover the whole population. So people who need care in their own home do not have to pay. And in a sign voters are ready to embrace radical change in social care, the survey of 2,000 people across Britain found overwhelming support for extending the system to England.
More than two-thirds of those polled by Redfield & Wilton Strategies (64 per cent) either agreed or agreed strongly that “people in England should have the same right”.
According to Age UK, costs for home care average around £15/hour.
Only one in 10 respondents did not think people in England should have the same right to free personal care as those in Scotland.
There was considerable support for proposals reportedly being considered by the Government – since dismissed by Downing Street – to see over-40s paying more in tax or national insurance to fund care in later life.
Thirty-seven per cent of people agreed or strongly agreed with this idea, while a third disagreed or disagreed strongly.
Boris Johnson acknowledged the challenges facing social care ahead of the last election and pledged to “urgently seek a cross-party consensus in order to bring forward the necessary proposal and legislation for long-term reform”.
Patience is running thin among campaigners and the high number of coronavirus deaths in care homes has exposed the fragility of the sector.
Caroline Abrahams, of Age UK, said: “It’s not surprising that there’s strong public support for change, and indeed for free personal care.”
Emily Graham, of mental health charity Mind, said: “For many people living with a mental health problem, good social care is the vital support that helps them live with independence, dignity and opportunity.
“We urge the Government to consider making social care free at point of use, just like the NHS.”
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesman said: “We are doing everything we can to support the sector, but there are complex questions to address to which we want to give our full considerations in light of the current circumstances.”