Long-term approach vital for social care

social-care-dec-2016The government’s social care funding announcement highlights serious questions about the Tories’ long-term approach to the care crisis, says Bristol South MP Karin Smyth.

Speaking in the House of Commons she emphasised to Secretary of State for Local Government and Communities, Sajid Javid MP, the need for a strategic long-term approach to addressing the social care crisis.

The Labour MP drew attention to the Tory decision made in 2015, “reneging on their manifesto commitment to cap care costs forcing more families to continue to live in the silent misery that is social care.

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“That postponement delivered over two billion pounds worth of savings,” she said, contrasting it with today’s announcement of a £900m funding commitment, most of which will be funded by an increase in council tax.

Karin Smyth told MPs the postponement was “one of the cruellest things this government has done.”

In 2014 the coalition passed The Care Act. It represented a watered-down version of Andrew Dilnot’s 2010 report into long-term funding of social care but outlined how care and support needs should be met, introducing for the first time a right to an assessment for anyone – including carers and self-funders – needing support. Most of the Act came into force in April 2015. However a cap on the costs of care for individuals, and more generous support for homeowners receiving residential care, which would have expanded the reach of adult social care, which was due to begin in April 2016 was shelved until April 2020 by Ministers last year.

Karin Smyth added: “Supporting carers is central to improving living standards and reducing poverty. Caring is a social justice and an equality issue.

“Caring is now as critical to the building of a successful economy as skills and transport. It is an infrastructure issue, vital to boosting growth and productivity in order to raise living standards for all of us.”

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