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Wednesday, May 05, 2021

Are the government failing on social care again?

After the trauma of the last year under the pandemic one would have thought that the UK government might show some signs of valuing the health and social care workers who have helped us get through it. 

However, that sort of gratitude appears to be beyond them. First they decide that health workers are worth no more than a one per cent pay rise and now it seems that they have now postponed much needed reform of the social care sector.

The Independent reports that charities and campaign groups have reacted angrily to news ministers are expected to delay an announcement on plans to fix the broken social care system until after next week’s Queen’s Speech:

Caroline Abrahams, the director of Age UK and co-chair of the Care and Support Alliance (CSA), accused ministers of “putting up with a grossly underfunded apology for a system that went past its sell-by date years ago”.

Others warned the government would “fail” millions of families if they delayed.

When Boris Johnson entered Downing Street, he promised to “fix the crisis in social care once and for all”.

Last month he said it was “highly likely” that his plan would be in the Queen’s Speech on 11 May.

But yesterday Downing Street would only say ministers would set out their plans shortly, fuelling expectations there will be no social care bill in the government’s programme for the coming year when it is set out by the Queen on Tuesday.

The 2019 Conservative manifesto pledged to seek cross-party consensus to reform how people pay for adult social care.

The party also promised that a prerequisite for any new scheme would be that “no one needing care has to sell their home to pay for it”.

But there are thought to be concerns over how much a new system would cost, especially after the government spent billions battling the coronavirus crisis.

Everybody knows that the social care system is underfunded, that those working in it are underpaid and that it is struggling to cope with the demands on it. Politicians have been failing to get to grips with this for decades, and yet here we are again.

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