Care Worker. Photo: PBC/CC
Care Worker. Photo: PBC/CC

Glynn Doherty, social care trade union organiser

The state of social care in Britain is appalling. So what does the Tory government do? It halves the promised extra funding for the desperately needed social care workforce.

The Tories are facing criticism from social care providers, users and trade unions. In response, the government claim that they “have made good progress on implementing [the People at the Heart of Care white paper], including by boosting workforce capacity, digitisation, improving oversight and enhancing the use of data.” Gobbledegook!

Over half the social care workforce will, this month, receive a pay rise. They have to, or their wages would be illegally below the minimum wage!

That rise will do nothing to stem the exodus from the sector. Staff have had enough, and are walking away from the job.

The only possible outcome from halving what was woefully inadequate extra funding in the first place will be deaths. It can’t be sugarcoated. The Tories are pushing some of the most ‘at risk’ people into an early grave.

The inevitable further decline in the amount of support and care provided to older people will pile more pressure on families and carers, and leave the NHS in constant crisis mode. At the start of this year, a record number of those well enough to leave hospital – over 14,000 – were still in a hospital bed. Around 13,000 people still find themselves in that position.

The Socialist Party calls for:

  • National and local government to invest resources directly into the provision of social care, not to big businesses who milk the system for private profit. Social care should be in public hands
  • An organising campaign to unionise social care workers, with pay claims submitted to every employer. These should include an immediate £15-an-hour minimum wage for social care staff, with no age exemptions
  • Turn to page 6 to read about the South Gloucestershire social care strike
  • 165,000 social care jobs are vacant, with a staff turnover rate of 30%
  • 12% of people over 50 have unmet social care needs
  • 550 deaths a week of over-65s whose requests for social care have not been met
  • 1/3 of care homes across England have considered closing during the past year, because of financially crippling running costs
  • 42% of providers have had to partly close down, or hand contracts back to local authorities to cut costs
  • 1 in 7 people in Britain are satisfied with social care services