Accusing the Tory government of having “shamefully abandoned” the most vulnerable in society, Labour has revealed plans to increase social care provision for older people and adults with disabilities.
In its latest policy announcement, Jeremy Corbyn’s party promises to reverse the impact of Conservative-imposed austerity on support for those with caring needs. Labour estimates that it could offer care to over 160,000 older people who currently do not receive help, including 50,000 dementia sufferers.
Of the £8bn put aside for social care in the 2017 manifesto, Labour will spend £2.8bn overall on new home care packages for vulnerable people and people with dementia, plus £350m per year on moving those with autism and learning disabilities from “inappropriate inpatient units” to the community.
The next Labour government also plans to spend a total of £350m on training to develop the social care workforce, and aims to increase the earnings threshold for carers allowance in line with the national living wage.
Commenting on government failures and Labour’s new spending plans, shadow minister for mental health Barbara Keeley said: “There is still no sign of their social care green paper, which was promised over two years ago, and vulnerable older people have needlessly suffered as a result of the government’s failure.
“People with dementia are unfairly punished when it comes to paying for their care needs so Labour will correct this injustice in government. We want care staff to be properly paid and trained, so that they can provide the kind of compassionate care that they want to give. We must offer dignity and security to all vulnerable people.”
The party points out that, thanks to squeezed local government budgets, the number of people receiving social care – which is funded by councils rather than the NHS – has fallen by 104,000.
Its new plans are designed to prevent avoidable emergencies, which have seen 1,000 elderly people a day needlessly admitted according to NHS figures, by providing reliable and consistent care. The moves could also help with so-called ‘bed-blocking’ often caused by lack of care at home.