Is it really any surprise that the Tory response to Covid-19 in social care situations has been a massacre?
They have no interest in using public funds to provide care for people who need it; they don’t think the money is meant for that.
Also, of course, anything with the word “social” in its title is like garlic to a vampire for them.
For example, has Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock got round to reading a report that stated – in July 2019 – that the social care system needed a cash injection of £8 billion, just to keep it ticking along?
Who knows how much cash it needs now?
Hancock was supposed to respond within two months but didn’t. Perhaps he was on his summer holibobs.
It is now more than a year later. Yes, Hancock has had to handle the Covid-19 pandemic – but if he was a responsible minister, he would not leave other matters dangling, and in any case the crisis has identified serious failings in care home provision.
Hancock has done nothing about them, nor has he lifted a finger to address failings that have left no fewer than 1.4 million older people in the community without help that they need desperately.
Public funding has fallen by £700 million since the Conservatives came back into office in 2010, and 400,000 people have lost their entitlement to help because successive Tory minister couldn’t be bothered to increase the level of means below which a person should be eligible for help, in line with inflation.
Boris Johnson ignored the scandal in his manifesto for last year’s election because he was afraid it would derail is campaign – and your true-blue Tory mass media dutifully turned a blind eye.
Theresa May’s 2017 election campaign was derailed by the issue of social care, after she proposed draconian measures to take families’ property away from them, in order to fund care for frail relatives.
Finally, last week, pressed for an answer on social care by a coalition of English councils, Hancock volunteered a cobbled-together choice between forcing everybody aged over 40 to contribute extra taxes to fund social care in later life – in line with models running in Japan and Germany, and compelling us all to take out insurance that will pay the bills later.
Neither plan is workable.
Firstly, what if people who are taxed for social care in later life never actually need it? This Writer’s grandmother lived to the ripe age of 88, with Altzheimer’s in her later years, but never had social care; my parents are both in their 80s now and are happily – and healthily – at home. Contribution to such a fund for any of them would have been a waste of money.
And the insurance plan is a no-hoper too: payment into private insurance schemes inevitably creates the temptation to cheat the payee out of their funds. Look at the way the criminal US insurance firm Unum cheated its clients out of their payments by ensuring that they could never meet the conditions required for payouts. Look at the number of UK pension funds that have been raided.
And of course we already pay into an insurance fund for our old age: National Insurance. The Tories could simply increase that by 1.5 per cent (that’s the amount of their income that Germans pay), rather than farming the job out to let privateers rob us all.
Either Hancock hasn’t considered any of these issues or he doesn’t care.
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