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Welcome for Labour social care plan

The Independent Care Group today broadly welcomed proposals for social care reform outlined in Labour’s manifesto for the General Election.

But it has warned that the promises lack detail and an urgent timetable for delivery.

The ICG also says Labour could have been bolder in its reforms and made social care a much higher priority.

In its manifesto, Labour has promised “deep reform” including a National Care Service and ‘home first’ care to keep people living independently. It has also promised greater integration with NHS services and fairer pay, terms and conditions to ‘professionalise’ the workforce.

The ICG has welcomed the outline proposals but said the manifesto lacked detail.

ICG Chair Mike Padgham said: “It is refreshing to see promises in writing from Labour on the reform of social care that we have been calling for over the past three decades.

“That excitement has to be tempered by the fact that the reforms are very much broad promises, with little detail and no timetable for delivery.

“Social care is in crisis now and we would like to see that these reforms will start on day one if Labour is elected. We have heard promises like these before and the challenge now is to see them delivered.

“And we must ensure that funding is properly addressed. Many of the reforms and improvements outlined will need investment. If, for example, Labour promises an increase in care workers’ pay then it has to be accompanied by a promise that local authorities – who commission the bulk of care from providers – will have the funding needed to ensure they pay a rate that enables providers to meet any new pay rate.

“Many, particularly smaller providers, are struggling to meet the latest increase in the national living wage and national minimum wage and without more funding will not be able to meet further rises.”

The ICG has been calling on the major parties to make social care reform a major issue at the General Election.

In its manifesto, the ICG calls for the creation of a National Care Service, bringing NHS healthcare and social care under one roof, allied to greater investment in the sector and better recognition and reward for the workforce. It wants to see care provided for the 1.6m people who currently can’t access it and dementia treated like other serious conditions like heart disease and cancer and its treatment funded through the NHS.

The ICG says the Covid-19 pandemic, the cost-of-living crisis and staff shortages followed years of neglect and under-funding by politicians from all parties and combined to leave the sector in deep crisis.

• The ICG manifesto has been sent to all the main party leaders. It incorporates the ICG’s Five Pillars of Social Care Reform document, which proposes ring-fencing a percentage of GDP for care, creating a National Care Service, setting a minimum carer wage, establishing a task force for reform and creating fair tariffs for services such as care beds and homecare visits.

 



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