Ruling should get politicians back to tackling social care

24 September 2019 – Independent Care Group

Today’s decision by the Supreme Court gives the Government an opportunity to get on with helping the 1.4m vulnerable adults who can’t get the care they need, providers say.

The Independent Care Group says the ruling that the suspension of parliament was unlawful should force MPs back to work and to address domestic issues – including social care – as well as Brexit.

The Group has also welcomed the Labour Party addressing social care at its conference.

It says Brexit is dominating all Government action at the expense of everything else, including the promised Green Paper on social care, which has been repeatedly delayed.

Chair Mike Padgham said: “Today’s ruling by the Supreme Court means parliament will now reconvene and resume business and, we hope, tackle some domestic issues too.

“Whatever your views on Brexit, there can be no doubt that it is distracting from everything else, including much-needed and long-awaited reform of adult social care.

“Whilst people worry about the consequences of a no-deal Brexit – whether it be food or medicine shortages, delays at the ports or whatever, nobody is worrying about what is actually happening in this country right now.

“We have older and vulnerable adults who cannot get the help they need to enjoy a decent quality of life in their own home. And we have people who desperately need to be cared for in a care or nursing home who, again, cannot have that.

“These are the real, innocent victims of Brexit. Whilst we would not want to belittle Brexit and say it isn’t vital – because clearly it is – we have to have some attention paid to domestic issues too, like social care. Otherwise that 1.4m is going to grow and grow and more and more people will go without care.”

He welcomed Labour bringing social care on to the agenda at its conference.

We need to hear solutions to the social care crisis from the Government and from all political parties and we need to hold them to account to deliver. We have had 20 years of broken promises from all parties, and it is time for change,” Mr Padgham added.

He said providers had been warning for years over the crisis in social care, which has left those 1.4m people unable to get the care they need. Some £8bn has been cut from local authority social care budgets since 2010. Care and nursing homes are closing and homecare agencies are handing back contracts because they are untenable to deliver.

The ICG has written to the Prime Minister inviting him to visit social care providers on the frontline at its base in North Yorkshire to see the challenges facing the sector. It is calling for urgent action to be taken straight away to get extra funding into social care. It argues that there is a human case and an economic case for supporting social care. Support for social care eases pressure on the NHS by keeping people out of costly NHS hospital beds. The sector employs 1.62m – more than the NHS – and contributes £40.5bn to the economy.

The ICG says the past 17 years has seen 13 documents – four independent reviews/commissions, four consultations and five white and green papers on care. It argues that action, rather than further discussion, is now overdue.

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