Greater choice for vulnerable adults and more help for their carers will be at the heart of government plans for social care to be unveiled shortly, the BBC reports.
Ministers will urge councils to ensure everyone receiving care gets a personal budget by 2013.
This will allow individuals to decide what their state allocation is spent on, and is seen as key to getting the voluntary sector more involved in services.
It comes amid growing concern about funding for the sector.
More than 1.7m people received support from social services in the last year – a figure which is set to double over the next 20 years.
The growing demand has prompted councils to start cutting back on services, including access to care homes and home help.
This means the biggest challenge facing the government is how to fund the service. It is currently means-tested but an independent commission is looking at whether this should be replaced by a voluntary or compulsory insurance system of some kind.
This commission will not report back to the government until next summer.
This policy paper will deal with establishing a vision for local government.
It will stress the need for greater personalisation through increasing the number of people receiving personal budgets.
Just over a tenth of those needing help get personal budgets, but the government will demand this is rolled out to everyone within three years.
There will also be more support for carers to allow them to take breaks. About one million people provide more than 50 hours of care to loved ones, and the government is expected to promise an extra £400m to give them more time off.
This would fulfil a promise the government made soon after coming to power and was budgeted for in the recent spending review, which promised extra money for social care.
Stephen Lowe of Age UK said there was a risk the extra funds being promised could be sucked into other areas of local government spending which are facing cutbacks.
But he added: “Many older people will welcome increased choice and personalisation of services. However, payments will not be for everyone and people should always have a choice of whether they or the local authority arranges their care. People need support to navigate the system.” Source: BBC
The care industry employs many thousands of migrant workers and the sector could not run without overseas staff.
Until more details are released it is difficult to predict exactly how these changes will impact employment opportunities.
The UK government is facing the problem of an aging population combined with a lower ratio of working people to those in retirement.
The situation is even worse in other European countries such as Germany, France and Italy, which all have much higher state pensions with falling numbers of people at working age paying the taxes to fund those in retirement.
In the long run Europe needs productive migrant workers to keep their economies growing, pay for pensions and look after its growing elderly population.
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