Social care’s reliance on private bed provision is growing, and larger providers – particularly those funded by private equity firms – are becoming more dominant.

A growing reliance on private provision could mean lower quality care. There are a number of potential linkages between ownership and quality.

We need to be bold and arrest the growth of debt-fuelled private providers in social care. IPPR calls for a bold set of policy interventions to arrest the growth of debt-fuelled private social care provision and oversee the existing sector.

  1. the creation of a powerful national financial care regulator – OfCare – to oversee the financial regulation of systemically important care providers
  2. a new requirement that ensures all state-funded providers of care maintain a ‘safe’ level of reserves and demonstrate they are paying their fair share of tax in the UK
  3. a commitment by government to build the 75,000 beds needed to by 2030 through borrowing worth £7.5 billion
  4. the care for these homes should either be provided by the state or by innovative not-for-profit providers, building on the success of the ‘Preston Model’.

*This briefing paper was amended to correct for duplicate entries in the CQC dataset used in the report. When corrected Care UK becomes the fourth largest and BUPA the fifth largest care providers in the market rather than Sunrise Senior Living. These amendments have no material impact on the conclusions of the report.