Foreword

Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home…
Eleanor Roosevelt

A decent quality of life where people are able to live with dignity and respect is a basic human right. For millions today and many millions more in the future, only effective care and support has the power to translate that right from an aspiration into an everyday reality.

This fact presents us with a clear choice about our future options. We already have evidence of how a reformed approach to care and support has the potential to act as a springboard – widening opportunity, enhancing economic prosperity and promoting the well-being of individuals, families and the country as a whole. By deepening and accelerating reform and widening its reach, care and support can play a greater role in helping Britain prosper economically and help us all thrive and grow in our ageing society.

Without such reform, our approach to care and support will remain largely a safety net. The resulting ‘care crunch’ of inadequate provision and missed opportunities is likely to severely undermine Britain’s future social and economic success – exacerbating inequalities, threatening human rights and leading to tensions between generations and between social groups.

We believe the recommendations in this report represent a form of practical idealism: a contribution to building the ‘good society’, based on a fair, workable and affordable infrastructure that commands the support of everyone. The Commission will play an active role in seeking to turn our vision into reality. Addressing human rights and equality in these ‘small places, close to home’ is central to building the fairer society we seek.

Nicola Brewer, Chief Executive, and Baroness Jane Campbell, Commissioner, Equality and Human Rights Commission
February 2009

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