Social care was once again notably absent from Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer’s New Year’s speech and is indicative of a disappointing start to what is likely to be a year of seismic change in politics, despite Keir previously committing to social care reform only a few months ago.
Responding to the speech, ironically made just a mile from learning disability charity Hft’s headquarters in Bristol, the charity’s CEO, Steve Veevers, says: “Although it’s encouraging to see that getting the NHS ‘back on its feet’ was highlighted as a priority, this will never succeed without a plan to address root and branch challenges in adult social care alongside it.
“This simple and undeniable fact is one that so many politicians don’t seem to take on board and this speech would have been the perfect opportunity to align the two,” Steve says.
“Where adult social care struggles to meet the needs of those who require support due to funding and workforce challenges, pressure is piled upon the NHS. The two are intrinsically linked.
“As our most recent Sector Pulse Check – written in partnership with Care England – highlights, our sector remains in crisis, with 82% of providers reporting either being in deficit or experiencing a decrease in their surplus.
“Another important element to add in to the mix as a General Election looms is that one in 20 people who are economically active work in social care. They are likely to be part of the voting population and will want to see social care recognised and supported by a prospective Government.
“It is imperative that whomever forms the next Government takes adult social care seriously. But, as usual, we are still awaiting detailed plans from all parties to illustrate that we have any hope of this happening.