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Social Care

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 5:58 pm on 25th February 2020.

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Photo of Helen Hayes Helen Hayes Opposition Whip (Commons) 5:58 pm, 25th February 2020

I thank the hon. Gentleman for his intervention. I agree that in many parts of the country, including Scotland, there are examples of good practice from which the Government can learn.

We need a system that recognises the individuality and diversity of people who need care. We need one that recognises that mental health support needs are completely different from physical needs, and that everyone who needs support will have a different version of what a good day looks like for them. We cannot get to that conversation until the funding is there to deliver such a system and until the workers in the care sector are properly paid, with access to training and career progression. The Government are playing a completely cynical game with social care, offering council tax increases, which hit the poorest hardest and raise only a fraction of the funding needed, and offering in this Parliament less than a third of the funding required just to meet current needs—and just for one year only.

In the meantime, delayed discharges from hospitals are going up, care homes are continuing to close and care companies are continuing to hand back contracts to councils. Millions of people are left with care that does not fully meet their needs or are having to fight to receive any care at all. The Equality and Human Rights Commission is taking the Government to court over the failure to properly house autistic people and people with learning disabilities. This is unprecedented and it is a disgrace. All of this places intolerable pressure on the relationships that keep the care sector going, the value of which is never captured on the public sector balance sheet. The Secretary of State spoke today with bravado about the current situation, but with no emotional intelligence about the day-to-day reality of the broken system that his Government are meting out or the urgency with which this crisis must be fixed. He will not give confidence to those who rely on the system every single day, and to those who work hard to deliver care, with the approach he is currently taking.