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Lib Dems Announce £8bn Plan To Fix Health And Social Care Crisis

The Liberal Democrats have promised an £8bn package for health and care services in England in their election manifesto.

At the launch of the party’s plans, Lib Dem leader Sir Ed Davey spoke about the importance of carers, citing his own experience of being a carer for his disabled son and for his mother.

The party said its proposals for government would be funded by reversing tax cuts for banks and closing tax loopholes exploited by the wealthiest individuals.

The party’s plans if it wins power include giving everyone the right to see a GP within seven days, as well as free personal care for older or disabled people at home, a new minimum wage for care workers, a Royal College of Care Workers and an overhaul of the Carers’ Allowance to support unpaid carers.

Sir Ed Davey has sought to reassure voters by ruling out increases to income tax, VAT and national insurance contributions, and has said that they will fund its plan through tightening capital gains tax rules to raise an extra £5 billion out of the wealthiest 0.1% in the country and a £4 billion tax increase for banks.

Sir Ed said:
“How the Conservative Party has treated our NHS is a national scandal.

“Years of neglect and chaos under the Conservatives have left our health services in a state of crisis.

“It is outrageous that pensioners are forced to endure the indignity of being left in hospital corridors while millions of people struggle to see their local GP or dentist.

“By ending the health and social care crisis, we can boost our economy by getting people back to work whilst giving people the dignity they deserve in their hour of need.”

Campaigners welcomed the promises and described them as a gauntlet to other major parties to deliver bold reform on the care of older and vulnerable adults.

The Independent Care Group (ICG) welcomed the Liberal Democrat proposals but warned that they don’t go far enough. It has called on the other main parties to stop running away from social care and to match and beat the Liberal Democrat promises.

The provider group’s Chair, Mike Padgham said:
“How refreshing it was to see a major politician put health and social care at the heart of a manifesto today.

“There was a great recognition that investing in social care will help save the NHS and help the economy and the country.

“Above all, what this does today is say to the other major parties, “Here is our plan, what are you going to do about social care?”

“In particular, I welcome the Liberal Democrat’s promise to introduce levels of free personal care, introduce a carer’s minimum wage, the Royal College of Care Workers and reform of the carer’s allowance to better support unpaid carers.

“They are right that we need to bring more staff into social care, and improving their pay will help towards that. We are currently short of 152,000 social care staff and will need more than 440,000 more by 2035.

“Where the Liberal Democrats fall short is in being even more bold and going for a true, root and branch reform of social care, which requires the creation of a National Care Service, to bring NHS and social care under one roof and better investment into social care to make that possible.”

National care Forum CEO Vic Rayner OBE said:
“For the first time we have seen a major political party thinking social care first when launching its election manifesto. The vision with which the Liberal Democrats’ manifesto is framed should help a lot of people to see the positive impact care has on improving lives for individuals and wider society. This makes a welcome and refreshing change to how care has previously been positioned as an endless series of issues to be kicked around and ultimately dismissed.”

“As well as pledging to introduce free personal care for older or disabled people at home, the Liberal Democrats have also outlined much needed support for the care workforce, including a workforce plan, improved pay and better recognition and career progression. This ambition aligns with our calls for measures that start to create parity of esteem for care workers when compared to their NHS colleagues and establishes care as a career to be pursued like any other.

“It is also good to see the Liberal Democrats with a future-focused ambition on the use of tech in care that realizes that the development of advancements in digital, data and innovation relies on embracing the experiences and voices of people who draw on care. “

“We hope that with the Liberal Democrats having shone such a strong light on social care, making the potential it holds for society front and centre of their campaign, both Labour and the Conservatives come out of the shadows with something equally as bold. Silence or a limited focus on care from either party would certainly be a misstep at this stage.”

Karolina Gerlich, CEO of The Care Workers’ Charity added:
“At the Care Workers’ Charity, we are pleased to see a manifesto that prioritizes social care. A wage for care workers that is above the NMW and a professional body for care workers are issues on which we have campaigned for a long time. Care workers do amazing work every day supporting the lives of other people. Seeing the social care workforce on this manifesto gives us hope that politicians finally recognize the importance care workers and their contributions to the society.”

 

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