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If only people understood their own arguments

Summary:
Allyson Pollock has managed to get herself extremely confused here:According to a study by the Competition and Markets Authority carried out in 2016 and updated in 2018, the care homes industry alone was worth around £15.9bn a year in the UK with 5,500 different providers operating 11,300 care homes for older people. In 2020, there were more than 456,000 care home beds in England, with local authorities and the NHS combined having closed and sold off an equivalent number during the preceding decades. For-profit providers, many of them large multinational chains, own 83% of care home beds with a further 13% provided by the voluntary sector. At the same time, government funding for local authority adult social care in England fell by 55% in 2019-20 compared with 2010-11, resulting in a 29%

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Allyson Pollock has managed to get herself extremely confused here:

According to a study by the Competition and Markets Authority carried out in 2016 and updated in 2018, the care homes industry alone was worth around £15.9bn a year in the UK with 5,500 different providers operating 11,300 care homes for older people. In 2020, there were more than 456,000 care home beds in England, with local authorities and the NHS combined having closed and sold off an equivalent number during the preceding decades. For-profit providers, many of them large multinational chains, own 83% of care home beds with a further 13% provided by the voluntary sector.

At the same time, government funding for local authority adult social care in England fell by 55% in 2019-20 compared with 2010-11, resulting in a 29% real-terms reduction in local government spending power. By 2019-20, local authority net spending on care was £16.5bn, 4% lower in real terms than in 2010-11.

The confusion is that she’s adamantly against this process of using the private sector as a supplier here. Yet the argument, as stated, is hugely supportive of the use of the private sector. For the claim is that we’ve the same number of beds available for that care with a reduction in the cost of those beds for that care.

True, a 4% real terms decline in costs isn’t all that much but we should probably contrast that with the usual NHS numbers which are a 2% rise (as Polly T keeps telling us, 4% nominal inflation rate since 1945) in real costs each year.

We gain the same outcome for less money. Why isn’t this a rousing endorsement of the use of the private sector?

Allyson Pollock is clinical professor of public health at Newcastle University

Answers on a postcard to Newcastle University presumably.

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Tim Worstall
Tim Worstall is a British-born writer and Senior Fellow of the Adam Smith Institute. Worstall is a regular contributor to Forbes and the Register. He has also written for the Guardian, the New York Times, PandoDaily, the Daily Telegraph blogs, the Times, and The Wall Street Journal. In 2010 his blog was listed as one of the top 100 UK political blogs by Total Politics.

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