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[30/06/2020 | No comment]

Bringing infection rates down in Leicester and protecting public health must be our first priority.

I support the lockdown, but I am concerned that the Government was too slow in giving the Council even the most basic postcode data, which is essential to tackling the problem.

I hope the Government will now work very closely with us to ensure our city gets all the resources needed, and to put actions in place to really get on top of this.

You can watch my interview about this on Sky News here, and you can watch my interview on BBC News here.

[18/06/2020 | No comment]

I’ve written to the Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, urging him to put in place a recovery plan for social care, which is integral to the overall recovery strategy for our country, alongside the longer-term reforms social care desperately needs.

These are some of the areas where I believe greater focus is needed:

    1. Testing: one-off testing of care workers isn’t good enough. We need weekly testing of care home AND home care staff, and antibody tests for care workers, not just those in the NHS. Families must also be tested and get proper PPE so they can start visiting their loved ones again.
    2. Workforce: for too long social care staff have been undervalued and underpaid. This must change. We need a comprehensive plan to improve pay, T&Cs, and improve recruitment and retention. Staff also need proper mental health support to deal with trauma and stress they’ve experienced.
    3. Families: most existing unpaid family carers have been caring an extra 10hrs a week during the virus, and 4.5m more people have taken on caring responsibilities since the pandemic began. Action must be taken to transform support for family carers, now and in the longer term.
    4. Resources: social care was stretched to the limit even before COVID-19. Extra costs (including PPE and staffing) will continue for months to come. The Chancellor should announce extra resources in his July statement and the Government should produce a plan for long-term reform by the end of year as the Prime Minister promised.

As the focus shifts to ending the lockdown, we must remember that COVID-19 isn’t over for social care. We need a sustainable plan for the remainder of the virus, alongside a long-term settlement for the future. You can read my full letter above, and more about this in the Independent here.

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