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Welcome for Lib Dem care pledges. Promises are a challenge to other parties

Updated: Jun 11

The Independent Care Group today welcomed Liberal Democrat Manifesto promises on social care and described them as a gauntlet to other major parties to deliver bold reform on the care of older and vulnerable adults.

The party has promised free personal care, a new minimum wage for care workers, a Royal College of Care Workers and an overhaul of the Carers’ Allowance to support unpaid carers.

The Independent Care Group (ICG) welcomed the Liberal Democrat proposals but warned that they don’t go far enough. It has called on the other main parties to stop running away from social care and to match and beat the Liberal Democrat promises.

The provider group’s Chair, Mike Padgham said: “How refreshing it was to see a major politician put health and social care at the heart of a manifesto today.

“Ed Davey showed great personal understanding and the Liberal Democrats have shown that politicians are listening to our concerns on social care and are prepared to put some very sensible proposals in their manifesto to begin tackling the issues.

“There was a great recognition that investing in social care will help save the NHS and help the economy and the country.

“Above all, what this does today is say to the other major parties, “Here is our plan, what are you going to do about social care?”

“In particular, I welcome the Liberal Democrat’s promise to introduce levels of free personal care, introduce a carer’s minimum wage, the Royal College of Care Workers and reform of the carer’s allowance to better support unpaid carers.

“They are right that we need to bring more staff into social care, and improving their pay will help towards that. We are currently short of 152,000 social care staff and will need more than 440,000 more by 2035.

“Where the Liberal Democrats fall short is in being even more bold and going for a true, root and branch reform of social care, which requires the creation of a National Care Service, to bring NHS and social care under one roof and better investment into social care to make that possible.

“As set out in our manifesto, we must get care to the 1.6m people who currently can’t access it and we must implement the Dilnot recommendations in full, including the setting of a limit on care costs so that people do not have to sell their home to pay for care. And we must treat dementia like other serious conditions like heart disease and cancer and fund its treatment through the NHS.”

In its manifesto, the ICG is calling for reform of social care on a scale not witnessed in healthcare since Aneurin Bevan created the NHS in 1948. It 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.

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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