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2017 Manifesto – Social Care

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Social care is a safety net for us all. It contributes to our economy by generating employment and supporting individuals whose families require care. And yet it has been eroded continually by the government. Spending less on social care when the need is growing shows a lack of regard for those whose families need care, and for those who work within the care sector.

Cutting social care is also bad for the health service. Delayed discharges put pressure on hospitals that are already short of beds, and a lack of community care leads to unnecessary admissions.

And cutting social care is immoral. Forcing those with long term ill health or disability to bear the cost of care personally is a regressive step. Nobody should live in fear of losing their home to pay for care costs. Making individuals pay for certain forms of frailty or illness but not others is not only unfair, but is the direct opposite of the shared pooling of risk that is meant to be provided by a universal healthcare system. 

Funding for social services

  • Provide better central funding for social care. Local councils are already permitted to raise extra funds by charging care precepts on council tax, but these are insufficient to meet care costs and will worsen the postcode lottery of care.
  • Reverse the cuts to local authority budgets and increase funding for social care to a level that fully meets the needs of vulnerable, elderly and disabled people.
  • Reverse the cuts to social services budgets for children and families. 

Free personal social care and integration with health

  • Introduce free personal social care and increase funding to meet the needs of vulnerable elderly and disabled people
  • Implement the Dilnot Commission recommendations, even if the level of the cap needs to be reconsidered in the light of fiscal policy. The Dilnot Commission recommended that social care costs be shared by the whole community. We say that this would be fairer to all, and would not result in a new industry for lawyers and accountants in seeking to avoid the large and draconian costs that are in the Conservative manifesto.
  • Prioritise streamlined planning for housing-with-care schemes and clarify as a matter of urgency proposed changes to how supported housing is funded through the benefits system to put an end to uncertainty about the future of existing schemes and new developments.

Care homes

  • Support the provision of new local authority owned and managed care homes to provide high quality local care for those who need them.
  • Oppose the closure, for merely ideological reasons, of existing local authority owned and managed care homes where they are providing good standards of care.
  • Set out in regulations what any care home owing human rights to publicly funded clients must do if considering closure and the eviction of all of its residents for business failure reasons.
  • Ensure that care homes and agencies threatened with closure due to business failure can be taken over temporarily by local authorities. Regulate what care homes must provide for publicly-funded clients in the event of closure and eviction.
  • Restore full inspectorate powers with regard to councils’ discharge of Care Act commissioning duties to the CQC.

Care staff

  • Improve the quality and provision of care through a transformation in the pay and conditions of care and support workers
  • Prevent social care commissioners purchasing from agencies which use zero hours contracts.
  • Enforce minimum personnel levels for people with particular profiles of need. End the notion that 15-minute care slots for personal care staff, without payment for their journey time between clients is a legitimate way for the State to purchase services or to provide them.