Labour plans new battle on social care after May’s universal credit humiliation

Labour aims to capitalise on its Commons victory on universal credit after it won the right to stage a vote on the government’s handling of the cash-starved social care system.

Shadow ministers have criticised the “total silence” from Theresa May, as well as health secretary Jeremy Hunt and communities secretary Sajid Javid, who have threatened to fine councils for their failure to meet “increasingly unrealistic” targets.

Swingeing cuts to funding have led to the closure of care providers in two-thirds of local authority areas since April, Labour said.

Now the opposition’s health team has secured a debate and vote on providing extra funding for social care and ending the threat of fines on councils for missed targets.

Barbara Keeley, shadow cabinet minister for social care, today described the state of social care as a “crisis made in Downing Street”.

“Haranguing council leaders for not meeting delayed transfers of care targets will not solve the problems the Tories have created in social care by cutting local authority budgets.

“Councils urgently need government funding to stabilise the social care system, not threats to have vital Better Care Funding withdrawn.

“During the election, Labour set out plans to tackle the crisis made in Downing Street by committing £8bn in funding for social care during this Parliament.”

On Wednesday Labour won an opposition day debate on the botched roll-out of universal credit after the Tory MPs were told by their whips not to turn up to vote. The Tories’ stayaway protest was prompted by fears of a backbench rebellion over the benefit and was seen as a fresh humiliation for Theresa May.

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