Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/785/17617
Hypocritical Hunt blames families for care scandal
Tories' real goal is yet more welfare spending cuts
A report that one million elderly people in the UK feel neglected and lonely is a "scandal". Tory health secretary Jeremy Hunt has stepped up to hypocritically point the finger of blame at 'hardworking families'.
Yet day-centres for the elderly were among the first victims of Con-Dem cuts, followed by council funding of home adaptations, respite care, home visits, and domestic help.
Hunt overlooks the 3,700 patients a year now admitted to hospital due to malnutrition, rushed from (largely private) care homes or found in a state of "emaciated confusion" by neighbours and carers.
Millions of people care for sick and elderly relatives in the UK. As the population ages, this number has spiralled but the trend is mainly driven by a lack of good affordable care.
Why doesn't Hunt address the scandal of over 30 health and care companies dodging millions in taxes every year? His answer to the countless care scandals has been to recruit 600 volunteers (!) to scrutinise care homes and to open the door to more privatisation.
Private care companies rake in millions, while carers receive a pittance (£10 less than Jobseeker's Allowance).
Family carers get no training or supervision, precious little support and are exempt from any legal scrutiny.
Carers endure devastating effects on their family and social life, lifetime income, pension, mental and physical health.
People like Socialist Party member Abdul and his two brothers juggled 24/7 care of two sick parents with young families and shift work.
One parent in hospital and another confined to home took its toll as the brothers begged and pleaded with their bosses over shift changes.
Their wives, despite their own jobs, the kids and the needs of their own parents, helped too.
None of them had space to take their parents in. The whole family network was stretched to breaking-point. Who's got the space, time and money? The bedroom tax actually precludes it!
Hunt and his class have big homes, nannies, nurses, drivers, domestics and au pairs. Their responsibilities are discharged with a money transaction.
However much we love our parents it's a burden: difficult for workers but for the jobless too. They're expected to be mobile, accessible and chasing mythical jobs 35 hours a week across the country.
Hunt's idyllic picture of family life is equally mythical. One cannot assume that all parents and children have healthy, loving relationships.
The Tories' Victorian family values belong to the same capitalist morality that gave us the sweatshop and the workhouse. Time to bin the capitalist system and its hypocrisy.
In The Socialist 23 October 2013:
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