Sunday shows: Labour would fund social care via community-first savings plan

Trevor Phillips on Sunday

Shadow Health Secretary Jonathan Ashworth said Labour would want a “national framework” for social care and aim to save money by looking after people in the community rather than in-patient care units.

  • On the news that Keir Starmer will write a 14,000-word essay for a Fabians pamphlet to ‘reset’ his leadership: “It’s not unusual for a political leader to write an essay for a think tank, which is associated with their party.”
  • On the Tory care plan: “It is a punishing, unfair tax rise that won’t deliver the healthcare that is needed. We won’t see people treated within 18 weeks again like they were under the last Labour government, and it certainly doesn’t fix social care.”
  • On Labour’s approach to social care: “If you expand eligibility with a national framework… which is what we want to see, more people will access care in their home and will not need to go into a care home or be delayed in hospital and not able to get care out in the community. If you do that, you actually save money.”
  • On standards and pay: “You need to raise quality and standards in care. There’s 15% of care services are rated inadequate… We want to end all that by investing in staff. So what we’ll do is pay the staff a real living wage. Lots of the staff get less that the minimum wage at the moment. We’ll get rid of these zero-hours contracts that a quarter of the staff are on and we’ll invest in their training.”
  • He added: “Thirdly, there’s a number of carers in this country who get no support whatsoever. We’ll give them proper respite support. And fourthly we’ll have a plan for adults with disabilities.”
  • On how Labour would fund social care: “Every one one of those adults in an in-patient care unit with autism or learning difficulties costs in the region of £200,000. If we looked after those people in the community, it wouldn’t be costing £200,000 per person – you’re looking in the region of £30,000.”
  • On existing funding: “The way in which we fund social care in this country is now through seven different funding streams and it is delivered through different mechanisms… By bringing health and care more closely aligned together, so the NHS and local authorities are planning care in local areas, you sweep away bureaucracy and you can deliver more care.”
  • Asked whether Labour would support the government ending the need for PCR tests after travel: “We’ll have to see what the proposal is when it comes before parliament. We’ve had some briefing into the newspapers today that certain elements of the Coronavirus Act will be taken off the statute book. At first sight, based on the briefing, the clauses that are going to be taken off the statute book – that looks like a reasonable approach.”

Health Secretary Sajid Javid confirmed that the government will press ahead with the cut to Universal Credit, insisting that it is a “temporary” increase and will be “ended as planned at the end of this month”.

On the National Insurance hike, he said “we should always be trying to keep taxes as low as we possibly can”, adding: “Tax rises should always be the last resort. It’s been right to do it on this occasion but we should always try to avoid it.”

The Andrew Marr Show

Jonathan Ashworth predicted that the country may be about to see “one of the worst winters in living memory” and set out a Labour alternative to the government’s social care plan.

  • On worrying about Covid: “I think anybody who follows health policy would not be complacent at this stage. Winter is always difficult for the NHS. We’re looking ahead to what could be one of the worst winters in living memory.”
  • On domestic vaccine passports: “We always said we didn’t think vaccine passports would work or would be appropriate for somebody to go to the pub, go to the shops, certainly not to access public services.”
  • On passports for nightclubs etc: “You’ve got to have other measures in place. They’ve got to be well-ventilated, you’ve got to have clean air.”
  • Pressed on whether Labour would argue for passports: “If the government are not going to bring the vaccine passport pieces of legislation, that’s the end of it.”
  • On repealing parts of the Coronavirus Act: “At first sight, it looks reasonable.” He pointed out that the Act is different from the various lockdown pieces of legislation.
  • On whether Labour was wrong to criticise the unlocking at the start of the summer: “We weren’t going to ban summer fun, certainly not. We were advising to maintain mask-wearing, to use the summer to install ventilation systems in schools and so on.”
  • He said booster jabs should be rolled out “through community pharmacy more this time”.
  • On whether Labour would scrap the new health and social care levy: “It is a punishing, unfair tax rise on working people.”
  • On what Labour would do for social care: “We would put more investment in so people can stay in their home. We would expand access, we would raise quality… and if you invest to people so that people can stay in their home longer, not be forced into a home and not be forced into a hospital bed with nowhere to go, you can release savings. The IPPR has said you can release £2.5bn worth of savings, which we would reallocate to the frontline.”
  • On whether people ‘find a vacuum’ when looking to Starmer for a plan: “But I’m offering you an alternative approach, which will expand access, drive quality, also support carers who will look after people as well”.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid announced that the government will not be going ahead with vaccine passports.

  • “We get Christmas this year” and “I’m not anticipating any more lockdowns”.
  • He predicted that if Covid vaccines for all teenagers are approved, the rollout would be able “to start within a week”.
  • “Whilst we should keep it in reserve as a potential option, I’m pleased to say that we will not be going ahead with plans for vaccine passports.”
  • He hopes to scrap compulsory PCR tests for travelling to amber list countries.

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