Too often we hear stories in the news of inadequate care for disabled adults and the elderly. Only a fortnight ago, it was revealed that at least 2,260 people with learning difficulties or Autism are staying in hospitals in England when they could be cared for in the community if the right support was in place.
Shockingly, earlier this year, Age UK revealed that an estimated 54,000 elderly people have died waiting for a care package.
It is no exaggeration to say that adult social care throughout the country has gone beyond crisis levels. The Tories have presided over eight years of cuts to social care worth a staggering £7billion.
These cuts have hit the poorest communities and the most vulnerable people and have also coincided with a rise in demand.
The consequence is neglect. Some estimates show up to 2.35 million people have unmet care needs in England. That’s millions of people being left helpless and alone.
A staggering 895 people a day have their request for council-funded social care refused, the blame for which lies firmly at the doorstep of the Conservatives’ swingeing cuts.
The consequence is lower quality care. Almost a quarter of adult social care services have poor ratings for safety and nearly one in three nursing homes in England ‘require improvement’ or are ‘inadequate’.
With a lack of funding and increasing privatisation, no wonder standards have slipped.
When social care is run for profit then the bottom line ceases to be good quality care and instead shareholder profits become the driving force. This is no way to run good quality social care.
Clearly, the Tories cannot be trusted to fix this problem. Their long-awaited Green Paper is already a year late and they have committed no further funding for social care in the Budget or Spring Statement.
Under Labour things would be different. That’s why, last week, we announced that further to the £8 billion committed to adult social care in our 2017 manifesto, we would provide 160,000 extra packages of support every year to allow people to continue living in their own homes, including 50,000 packages for people with dementia. This level of care would support people with tasks such as dressing, bathing and preparing meals.
We will also end the scandal of autistic people and people with learning disabilities being kept in inappropriate institutional settings and support them to live in the community instead.
These packages are vital to helping people maintain as much independence as possible whilst still receiving the care they require. We would make sure that carers are paid a Living Wage, increasing the Carer’s Allowance from £62.70 a week to £73.10, the same level as Job Seeker’s Allowance – a 17 per cent increase and invest £350million into training for care staff.
These important measures would begin to redress year after year of damaging Tory polices that have placed profit before people and left millions struggling and silently suffering.