Care services are silently being privatised - David Drew backs Age UK Care Crisis campaign
Many of you have sent postcards to me as part of Age UK’s Care Crisis campaign and I agree that social care is now in crisis. Read my full response below:
Thank you for sending your campaign card highlighting the #CareCrisis through Age UK.
The care sector has certainly suffered extensive and exhaustive cuts and the consequences are far reaching. As stated in our manifesto, Labour believes “our social care sector is in crisis, with severe consequences for the quality of care, public finances, personal assets, pressures on unpaid carers of family and friends, and delays to discharging patients from hospitals”.
Despite rising demand, and with an ageing population, the Government has cut care services, resulting in a £4.6 billion lost from the social care budget. Over 1.2 million people in the UK have care needs and we cannot continue to neglect this.
Care services have been slowly but relentlessly privatised. In recent years, one in ten people reaching the age of 65 has faced lifetime care costs of over £100,000, with some homeowners paying the entire value of their homes.
This is an issue that is continuously raised in my office through casework and it is something I passionately raise in Parliament and will continue to do so, to hold the Government to account.
The UN’s report on this Government’s austerity measures but here are some excerpts from the damning report:
“As a result, they have transferred a greater share of service costs to users who are often the least able to pay. They have cut spending on services by 19% and focused their spending on statutorily mandatory adult social care and child protection services. The leader of one city council told me local governments have cut preventative, proactive services and then had to cope with a rise in crisis intervention– which can in fact be much more costly than preventative services”.
“As I toured the country, I was told time and again about important public services being pared down, the loss of institutions that would have previously protected vulnerable people, social care services that are at breaking point, and local government and devolved administrations stretched far too thin”
Below is the Labour Party’s plan for social care, as presented in the manifesto:
“Our first urgent task will be to address the immediate funding crisis. We will increase the social care budgets by a further £8 billion over the lifetime of the next Parliament, including an additional £1 billion for the first year. This will be enough for providers to pay a real living wage without cutting the quality of care they provide. It will allow implementation of the principles of the Ethical Care Charter, already adopted in 28 council areas, ending 15-minute care visits and providing care workers with paid travel time, access to training and an option to choose regular hours.
Labour will also increase the Carer’s Allowance for unpaid full-time carers to align the benefit with rates of the Jobseeker’s Allowance. Short-term funding solutions will not address the fundamental long-term challenges of our ageing demographics, nor meet the growing demands arising from late-life illnesses.
The National Care Service will be built alongside the NHS, with a shared requirement for single commissioning, partnership arrangements, pooled budgets and joint working arrangements. We will build capacity to move quickly towards a joined-up service that will signpost users to all the appropriate services at the gateway through which they arrive.
In its first years, our service will require an additional £3 billion of public funds every year, enough to place a maximum limit on lifetime personal contributions to care costs, raise the asset threshold below which people are entitled to state support, and provide free end of life care. There are different ways the necessary monies can be raised. We will seek consensus on a cross-party basis about how it should be funded, with options including wealth taxes, an employer care contribution or a new social care levy”.
Thank you once again for contacting me about this very important issue, it is something I agree with and needs urgent attention.
David Drew MP