Wirral MP criticises Prime Minister over ‘hollow’ social care promise

Margaret Greenwood MP called on the government’s Care minister to set out what action she would take to ensure that no person has to sell their home to pay for their care, adding ‘or was that just another hollow promise from the prime minister?’  

The Wirral West MP was speaking in Parliament after Gillian Keegan, the government’s Care minister, gave an update to the House of Commons on the government’s plans for adult social care.   

The government has come under fire after it published its long-awaited social care white paper this week.   

Among the proposals in the white paper were plans for a new national social care website, a drive for greater adoption of technology, additional funding for workforce development, chiefly through training and qualifications, and at least £300m over three years to help councils increase the range of social housing options.  

The former Conservative Health and Social Care Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, was critical of the proposals for not providing enough funding to local authorities, warning that, “The white paper barely gives them enough to deal with demographic change and national living wage increases, and it is a long way off the £7 billion-a-year increase the Health and Social Care Committee called for by the end of the Parliament.”   

Age UK said that, “Chronic workforce shortages are the biggest concern and seem to be getting worse, with uncompetitive pay the main culprit. There is nothing in the paper to suggest the government has any real strategy for dealing with it, given the lack of care funding overall.”      

Carers UK has raised concerns that, “There is no substantial funding to enable (unpaid) carers to take the breaks they desperately need…Without additional money and adequate staffing now, carers will simply not be able to cope in the coming months.”  

Margaret Greenwood MP said, “In July 2019, the Prime Minister stood on the steps of Downing Street and said that he had a plan to fix the crisis in social care. He clearly told the nation that it was his job to protect people, their parents and their grandparents from the fear of having to sell their home to pay for the costs of care.   

“Then the Conservatives’ manifesto in 2019 reiterated that nobody would have to sell their home to pay for their care.  

“I had hoped the minister would come forward with a plan including details of how the government would fulfil these promises. 

“Sadly there was no such plan and the minister’s announcement fell far short of delivering the strategy and serious level of investment needed for our social care system.   

“The government’s announcement will have been bitterly disappointing for all of those people in need of care and their families.  

“When someone is diagnosed with a condition like dementia, it can be incredibly difficult for the individual and their loved ones to arrange the care that they need, and the costs some people face are astronomical.  

“People who had been relieved to hear that the government was going to fix social care will now be incredibly disappointed that, yet again, it appears to have been a hollow promise from the Prime Minister. 

“Numerous families across Wirral West are having to make really difficult decisions when it comes to securing the support their family member needs.  

“The newly published white paper falls well short of providing the proposals for reform that are needed.   

“We recently learned that an alarming 400,000 older and disabled people are now on council waiting lists for care, with 40,000 waiting more than a year. This is piling pressure on unpaid carers, many of whom are at breaking point.    

“It would appear that the government has no long-term strategy to transform the pay, training, terms and conditions of care workers.   

“As well as failing to deliver on promises, ministers have once again failed to give social care the vital funding it needs.  

“I will continue to press the government on this important issue.”  

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