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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

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.

Penury

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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Finance appeal

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.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
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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


Socialist history

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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Related links:

Care Homes:

triangleLiverpool Council must save care homes

triangleFrom first wave to second? Capitalism's Covid failures

triangleNo going back: Nationalise social care!

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