Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/945/25286
The Socialist 19 April 2017 |
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900 carers quit a day - nationalise social care now
900 carers quit a day photo Joe D Miles for CQC (Creative Commons) (Click to enlarge)
Rich Edwards, Cardiff East Socialist Party
Over 900 carers quit every day last year in England, according to the charity Skills for Care.
They are leaving a badly underfunded, poorly regulated and mindlessly privatised public service. Care is on the verge of a complete collapse.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has announced plans for unpaid carers - partners and family members who are unable to work because of their duties - to receive higher benefits. This is very welcome.
But unfortunately the increase is only to the pitiful level of jobseekers' allowance. As well as a minimum wage of £10 an hour, Corbyn should pledge living benefits to really appeal to downtrodden voters.
It also does not address the lack of affordable professional care which means too many working families have no choice but to do the job themselves. The Tories are vulnerable on this issue, and Corbyn's Labour must hammer them as part of its election campaign.
The provision of social care in the UK is in a generational crisis due to attacks from successive Tory governments, passed on by Blairite councils. Bold and decisive action is required to protect the elderly and vulnerable - nationalise care homes now, and the entire social care industry!
5% of care positions in the UK are currently vacant, and up to 25% of those working in the industry do so on insecure and super-exploitative a zero-hour contracts. Skills for Care also found that the average wage in the industry is just £7.69 an hour - far below the minimum necessary for any worker to live and work securely and happily.
Like many people, I have watched elderly family members move through Britain's social care system. I witnessed first-hand the patience, intelligence, hard work and compassion displayed by those working within the industry.
The injustice and shame of a privatised, exploitative and profit-seeking care industry must stop now. Nationalise all health and social care. Introduce secure jobs and hours and a real living wage for all carers across the UK - with £10 an hour a good first step.