Following their General Election campaign in which they called for the reinstatement of a Minister of State for Social Care, Hft, a national charity that support adults with learning disabilities, has reacted to the appointment of Jackie Doyle-Price as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Care & Mental Health.
Billy Davis, Public Affairs & Policy Manager commented: “We look forward to working with Jackie Doyle-Price. Since her maiden speech, Ms. Doyle-Price has been a staunch advocate of welfare reform. Her time as a member of the Public Accounts Committee should equip her with an overview of the financial pressures currently facing the sector. We hope this means she will be willing to consider innovative funding solutions, in order to both provide top quality care for the people we support, as well as providing value for money for local authorities.
However, we are disappointed that the Prime Minister has chosen not listen to Hft’s calls and take bold action to restore the position of Minister of State for Social Care.
While we welcome Jackie Doyle-Price in the post, and recognise her relevant experience, we are concerned that, by failing to appoint her as Minister of State for Social Care, Ms. Doyle-Price’s position will be hampered by the juniority of a Parliamentary Under-Secretary. As we highlighted in our Manifesto, a Minister of State operates at Cabinet level, allowing her to develop a holistic, cross-departmental view of how policies would impact the social care sector. Ministers of State can also appoint a Parliamentary Private Secretary, who are the ‘eyes and ears’ of a Minister both within Parliament, as well as amongst internal and external groups.
Throughout the election campaign, Mrs. May has come under fire for her manifesto’s social care policies. By awarding the portfolio to a senior Minister at Cabinet level, May could have shown she has listened to these criticisms, and was taking the challenges facing the social care sector seriously, by providing the Minister with the resource and authority to take decisive action.
While it is claimed that there is “no correlation between the seniority of ministers and the priority given to policy areas”, our manifesto highlights that the reallocation to a junior minister amounts to a political and symbolic demotion for social care.
This is wholly unacceptable at a time when social care is in crisis, and a long term sustainable solution to the challenges facing the sector is needed to protect some of the most vulnerable adults in society.”