I am concerned that, after nine years of cuts to council budgets, £7.7 billion has been taken out of social care leaving services at breaking point. Councils are having to make difficult decisions about who receives care, and too many people are left to cope without the support they need.
In March 2017, the Government said it would publish a Green Paper on social care to ensure the system is sustainable in the long-term. However, more than two years later and after several delays, Ministers have still not given a date for when it will be published. In the meantime, analysis from the Alzheimer’s Society reveals that people living with dementia have spent almost £15 billion of their own money on social care since March 2017, compared to less than £10 billion by the Government.
I support a long-term and sustainable funding solution for social care, which includes investing £8 billion to provide more people with the support they need.
I wrote to the then Chancellor, Sajid Javid, and called on him to increase social care funding in the next Budget (11 March), and, in particular, funding for people living with dementia.
As part of a wider commitment to establish a National Care Service, I also support introducing free personal care for all older people. This would more than double the number of people receiving state-funded care and stop people with dementia being treated unfairly by the care system by ensuring they receive the same care as those with other conditions.
A new National Care Service would also raise standards of care by ending the use of zero-hour contracts, ensure that carers are paid a real living wage, end 15-minute care visits, and improve access to training and development for care staff.