Sunday 8 December 2019 / 1:03 PM Jeremy Corbyn

Labour announces plan to head off social care crisis

Jeremy Corbyn, Leader of the Labour Party, and Barbara Keeley, Shadow Minister for Social Care, will set out Labour plans to head off the social care crisis through introducing free personal care and increasing the number of care packages provided to working age adults and older people each year.

New Labour Party research has also revealed that since April 2017, over 9,200 people have approached their local authority for help to pay for their social care, after running out of money.

Labour’s National Care Service will provide publicly funded care to all those that need it.

Labour will:

  • Introduce free personal care for older people, to support them to live independently in their own home by providing help with daily tasks such as getting in and out of bed, bathing and washing, and preparing meals;
  • Fund social care properly with £10 billion of additional funding by 2023/24 to provide more social care packages for working age adults and older people;
  • Cap care costs, to ensure no one is faced with catastrophic costs for their care.
  • Reform provision of care by ensuring care providers meet ethical standards of care, including minimum requirements for workforce terms and conditions such as staff training and development and supporting local authorities to provide rather than outsource care.
  • Support the care workforce better to ensure people receive support from trained staff who have the time and skills needed to provide care.

New Labour research reveals that:

9,290 people have approached their local authority for help with their social care costs after running out of money to pay for it themselves – called ‘self-funders with depleted funds’ – since April 2017.

5,385 people – almost 15 a day – approached their local authority for help in 2018/19, an increase of 38% on the previous year.

Based on the average cost of a home care package being £16 an hour and the average recipient of free personal care in Scotland receiving 8.8 hours of free personal care a week, free personal care will save older people £7,321 a year, drastically reducing the number of people depleting their savings to pay for their care.

Currently, only those with the lowest level of savings receive publicly-funded personal care, while people with dementia face the highest costs for care. This leaves many people faced with the prospect of using their life savings or selling their home to pay for care.

Labour’s plans will more than double the number of people receiving state-funded care and reduce the number of people facing catastrophic costs for their care. Free personal care will ensure people with dementia receive the same care as those with other conditions, reduce the burden on unpaid carers and benefit the NHS by reducing delayed transfers of care from hospital and admissions to care homes and hospitals.

As part of the National Care Service, Labour has pledged to raise standards of care by ending the use of zero-hour contracts, ensuring carers are paid a real living wage of £10 an hour from 2020, including for travel time, end 15-minute care visits and improve access to training and development for care workers.

Labour’s announcement comes in the context of Boris Johnson’s Conservative manifesto which ignored the social care crisis.

Jeremy Corbyn, Leader of the Labour Party, said:

“We have a social care crisis on our hands and it was created by the Tories.

“I want everyone to be able to live with dignity, which is why we will start by introducing free personal care for older people.

“Labour is on the side of care workers and those who need care. We are committed to real change in the way that social care is delivered.”

Barbara Keeley MP, Labour’s Shadow Minister for Social Care, said:

“People needing social care have been neglected by this Conservative government for nine years.

“Boris Johnson stood on the steps of Downing Street and said he had a plan to fix social care. His refusal to come forward with this plan is holding people who are struggling to cover the cost of care in contempt.

“Labour is the only party who will fix the crisis in social care. We will build a National Care Service that ensures more people receive publicly-funded care, and provide free personal care for older people.”