Back in 2008 I sat in the press conference where then Health Minister, Alan Johnson, announced that the Labour Government was launching a consultation on a social care Green Paper. Now a Green Paper is, in itself, a consultation document – so it was the announcement of a consultation on a consultation! This, effectively, meant that the then Labour Government would not have to tackle the issue of social care before a General Election, something that was raised by numerous journalists at the time.
Since May 2010 we have had a Conservative/LibDem Government whose only action, so far, has been to launch yet another consultation – Dilnot – with the promise of a White Paper which appears to be delayed yet again, although reports last week suggested we will get a draft version which will be open for consultation!
Apart from the blatant prevarication by all parties there is also the issue of what the constant consultations involve and that is the issue of who pays what for social care.
Yet the issues go deeper than that, social care has been facing cuts since well before the recession actually kicked in with issues over less than inflation fee increases by local authorities going back to at least 2007.
So it is not only a case of who pays but also is enough actually being paid?
Principle in this question of how much is being paid is what we are paying social care staff. At the end of last year the BBC revealed that many care workers are actually getting less than the minimum wage http://news.bbc.co.uk/panorama/hi/front_page/newsid_9604000/9604221.stm
If we want to provide the best possible quality of care for the most vulnerable in society then we need the best possible workers to provide that care and support. Yet care workers have been described as ‘vulnerable workers’ by the TUC and there seems to be little political action on improving the image of care work to encourage more people into the sector.
In 2010/2011 there were around 1.5 million adults accessing Local Authority funded social care services and this does not include those ineligible for funding and who are having to pay for their own care. And the issue of social care will only become more pressing over time, more people will need care and support services as the population continues to live longer and WE WILL NEED more workers to provide that support.
Government should be about leadership yet ALL political parties seem to prefer to run and hide when it comes to dealing with social care.
I am supporting #Twobby because those who sit in Westminster need to STAND UP and take action on social care NOW rather than endlessly prevaricate in the hope that it will go away