Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/921/23787
From The Socialist newspaper, 19 October 2016
Elderly care at crisis point
Councils and unions must combat the cuts
Protesting outside the London offices of Care UK owners Bridgepoint, photo Paul Mattsson (Click to enlarge)
Glynn Doherty, trade union organiser
Over the past six years, the number of care homes has fallen by 1,500 to 16,600.
Home care providers are not renewing council contracts. The number of elderly people receiving social care from their local council declined by a staggering 26% between 2010 and 2015.
More than a million people who can't handle for themselves the basic necessities of daily life now get no help whatsoever. This is the reality of care under capitalism - in a rich country - in 2016.
A report by the King's Fund think-tank, 'Social care for older people: home truths', shockingly adds: "No one has a full picture of what has happened to older people... no longer entitled to publicly funded care."
Many care providers now concentrate on those forced to self-fund their own care - anyone above the threshold of £23,500 in total savings and assets. Over half of residential and nursing care funding now comes from private individuals rather than the state, which has reaped a lifetime of taxation from workers paying into a welfare system designed to protect them in old age.
There is a pressing need for a programme of action. This must start with those who have the power to change things - councillors and trade unions.
Continuing to implement cuts with the mantra "there's nothing we can do" is just condemning the elderly to penury. Labour councillors should be engaging with the care unions to mount an effective campaign to oppose cuts.
Unions must organise more vigorously in the voluntary and private care sectors. Unionise the workforce to fight these assaults. Join with local campaigning groups to fight cuts and, where possible, organise for united action across the movement.
For many, waiting for a 2020 election to act will sadly be too late.
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The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.
The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.
The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.
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In The Socialist 19 October 2016:
Socialist Party news and analysis
NHS at breaking Point
Teachers working 60 hours need strikes, not studies
Elderly care at crisis point
Health campaigns demonstrate together in 'one fight'
NHS cancer and dementia drugs 'unaffordable'
Them & Us
What we think
No backtracks, no compromises: we must fight for real democracy in the Labour Party
TUSC discusses new tasks after Corbyn victory
Workplace news and analysis
Sheffield bin striker slams privatised refuse bosses
Newsquest strike: Bosses realise 'contraints' of scab labour
London Underground cleaners protest pay cut
Support the 'Kinsley 3' cleaners in pay fight
International socialist news and analysis
Syria: horror deepens in Aleppo
Aberfan: a disaster that should never have happened
Suez 1956: the decline of British imperialism and rise of the colonial revolution
Black History Month
The radical life of Paul Robeson
Socialist Party reports and campaigns
Butterfields housing victory: "We showed that if you stick together and fight you can win"
Come to Socialism 2016
Can you donate to the Socialism 2016 appeal?
Cheshire and Merseyside: Huge NHS cuts and privatisation planned
Devon: Campaigning against community hospitals closures
Bristol: Millions of pounds of "horrifically unpalatable" cuts
Socialist readers' comments and reviews
Moving, funny and inspiring tribute to working class heroism
Film review: Deepwater Horizon
Review: BBC2's Poetry Night
The Socialist inbox
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