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[15/09/2021 | No comment]

Since Parliament came back after the summer, the biggest issue has been the Government’s ‘NHS and social care levy’ (a 1.25% increase in National Insurance Contributions) which they claim will fix the crisis in social care.

The two key tests for the Tories about this proposal are: will it work, and is it fair?

The answer to both is no. Not a penny of the National Insurance tax rise will go into social care now – all the additional funding will go into the NHS – and there is no guarantee there will be any extra funding for social care in future. It will not add a single extra minute of care and support, or improve the quality of life for older and disabled people, or tackle appalling staff shortages, give frontline staff a pay rise, or do anything to help unpaid family carers who are pushed to breaking point. The £86,000 cap on care costs won’t stop people having to sell their homes to pay for their care either.

What the Tories announcement does mean is an unfair tax rise on younger and low paid workers, including the very care staff on whom social care depends. Alongside the freeze in the personal allowance, and cuts to Universal Credit, this means low paid workers will lose over £1,000 a year.

It also puts huge extra burdens on our local councils, on top of the £8 billion cuts to their budgets since the Conservatives came to power.

Labour’s plan for social care doesn’t just aim to ‘fix the crisis’ in social care but transform it, so all older and disabled people can live the life they choose and so their views drive change throughout the system.

Labour will increase access to care, so older and disabled people get the right support, when and where they need it; join up NHS and care services, and shift the focus towards prevention with a new principle of ‘home first’; ensure independent and fulfilling lives for working age adults with disabilities; deliver a New Deal for Care Workers so frontline staff get the pay, training, terms and conditions they deserve; and put unpaid family carers at the heart of the system with better information and advice, respite breaks and greater flexibility at work. To fund this, Labour will ensure those with the broadest shoulders bear the greatest burden, with a bigger contribution from wealthier people and from unearned income and financial assets too.

You can read more about our vision for social care in my speech to the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services Conference here. You can also listen to my comments on Sky News here.

[13/09/2021 | No comment]

Today I spoke at an event organised by the National Care Association. Care providers told me that they are desperately struggling to find staff and are deeply worried about what this will mean for people who need care. Urgent action is needed to tackle the workforce crisis in social care. The Government’s proposals, announced last week, fail to deliver this. The Government has no plan for social care, just a tax rise.

 

[20/07/2021 | No comment]

After more than a decade in power – and two years after the Prime Minister made a clear promise on the steps of Downing Street, we are still no closer to seeing a plan to ‘fix the crisis in social care.’

Every day the Government delays their plans for fixing the crisis in social care is another day that staff don’t get the pay and training they deserve, another day that thousands of people go without the basic help they need, to do things like get up, washed, dressed and fed, and another day that families are pushed to breaking point. Ministers must now put in place a ten-year plan for investment and reform that puts social care on a sustainable footing, and provides all older and disabled people with the dignity and security they deserve.

Read more on Huffington Post and in The Independent.

[19/07/2021 | No comment]

Yesterday I appeared on BBC East Midlands Politics to talk about the big issues of the week. We discussed the July 19 re-opening, and football, and the rumours that the Prime Minister will bring forward his social care reform plans. As Shadow Social Care Minister, this is an important topic for me.

The newspapers are reporting the Government will introduce a cap on care costs, so people don’t have to sell their homes to afford care. However, after years of broken promises, a cap on care costs alone won’t go far enough.
 
We need a full plan to transform social care, and when the Prime Minister finally announces his plan to fix the crisis in social care it should not just deliver a cap, but a pay rise for care workers and support for famiies looking after their loved ones.

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