Council leaders urge PM to act on social care in Queen's Speech

Council leaders urge Boris Johnson to act at tomorrow’s Queen’s Speech to fulfil pledge to ‘fix social care’ as they warn further delay will be a ‘bitter blow’

  • Boris Johnson will set out plans for new laws at tomorrow’s Queen’s Speech
  • Council bosses have urged the PM to include long-heralded plan for social care
  • They said further delay to reform would be a ‘bitter blow’ for staff and residents

Council leaders have urged Boris Johnson to finally fulfil his pledge to ‘fix’ the nation’s social care crisis at tomorrow’s Queen’s Speech.

The Local Government Association, which represents authorities across England and Wales, said the Queen’s Speech and the spending review later this year are ‘key opportunities’ for the Prime Minister to make good on his promise. 

The LGA warned a failure to act now on long-promised social care reform would be a ‘bitter blow’ for care staff and the millions they help. 

Mr Johnson said in his first speech as Prime Minister on July 24, 2019 that ‘we will fix the crisis in social care once and for all with a clear plan we have prepared to give every older person the dignity and security they deserve’. 

However, no plan has yet been brought forward by the Government, with Mr Johnson under fire for failing to act on his pledge. 

Boris Johnson has been urged by council bosses to fulfil his pledge to ‘fix’ the nation’s social care system

Mr Johnson said in his first speech as Prime Minister on July 24, 2019 that ‘we will fix the crisis in social care once and for all’ but he is yet to publish plans. Stock image 

Care groups, charities and politicians have long been calling for a major overhaul of the sector amid concerns the current system is unsustainable. 

Health Minister Nadine Dorries said this morning that there would be a mention of social care in the Queen’s Speech as the Government sets out its legislative plans for the next year, but that she was unable to give further details.

When asked about the issue last week the PM did not guarantee that proposals will be detailed in the speech, instead saying plans would be brought forward in the ‘next few months’.

The LGA has sent a letter to Chancellor Rishi Sunak as well as ministers for health, care and housing, in which it states that one-off grants and the social care council tax precept are only ‘sticking plaster solutions’ and a long-term remedy is needed.

The LGA is calling for three things in order for the PM to ‘make good’ on his promise. 

These are investment to deliver a preventative approach enabling people to be supported in their own homes; an end to ‘sticking plaster solutions’ and a long-term funding solution which could include increases in national taxation and/or a social care premium.

The LGA polled 102 MPs and 94 peers between November and February and found that 83 per cent are in favour of increased funding for councils’ social care budgets.

Councillor James Jamieson, LGA chairman, said: ‘The decisions on social care funding and reform in the coming weeks will potentially impact both the millions of people who draw on or work in care and support now, and the many millions more who will do so in the decades ahead.

‘Our latest poll of MPs demonstrates the broad support across Parliament for additional funding for councils’ social care budgets.

‘All of us in local government, across the political divide, want to see the Queen’s Speech finally set out the plans we have been waiting for and make good on the Prime Minister’s promise to “fix social care”, once and for all.

‘This is about an investment in people, in all of us. A failure to act will be a bitter blow to everyone connected to social care.’ 

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesman said: ‘Improving the adult social care system remains a priority for this government and we will bring forward proposals later this year to ensure everyone is treated with dignity and respect.

‘Throughout the pandemic we have provided almost £1.8billion in specific funding for adult social care including infection prevention and control measures.

‘We’ve also provided free personal protective equipment and additional testing and prioritised health and care workers for the vaccine.’

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