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CSA’s response to the Queen’s Speech

May 11, 2021

On 11 May, the Queen’s Speech set out the Government’s agenda for the next session of Parliament.

Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director of Age UK and Co-Chair of the Care and Support Alliance said:

“After an awful lot of dithering the Government has finally nailed its colours to the mast by formally committing to social care reform this year. The question now is how good the Government’s proposals will be, not whether there will be any at all, so this is an important step forward for the millions of older and disabled people and carers who deserve so much better than what’s often on offer to them today.

“Ministers have made it clear that they see a cap on sky high care costs as the centrepiece of their reforms, because it is so evidently unfair for anyone to be financially ruined by long term care bills. However, this is not the only unfairness in how care operates today, and it would be a bizarre outcome if we gave more protection to home owners, while leaving those with fewer assets to the current underfunded system. This would especially disadvantage sick and disabled adults who have just as much right to decent care as older people. So as well as bringing forward some kind of cap, there is no avoiding the need for the Government to invest billions more into care – topping council budgets back up again after having allowed them to fall so disastrously over the last decade.

“The final essential element is the need for the Government to professionalise the care workforce, giving care workers the terms and conditions, and career structure, that should rightfully be theirs’ after their magnificent performance during the pandemic. It’s high time we ended the situation in which care staff are constantly the poor relations of their equivalents in the NHS.”

“If the Government brings forward a package of reforms of scale and ambition, backed up by the funding required, we will be able to hold our heads up high again as a nation, consigning our current, shamefully neglected social care system to the past, where it belongs. If this happens older and disabled people, and their carers, will be able to breathe more easily, confident that they will get the help they know they need.”

Update on petition to stop cuts to disabled people’s care

January 8, 2021

At the end of 2020, the CSA supported a petition hosted on by Jo, mother to Darcie who is autistic. Jo’s petition called on the Government to stop the cuts to disabled people’s care, and instead make sure that people got the care they needed, especially during the pandemic.  

A total of 8,148 people signed the petition supporting Jo. In the first lockdown the sudden loss of care had a big impact of Jo’s mental health and on her daughter Darice’s wellbeing. As a volunteer for the Norwich branch of the National Autistic Society Jo could see she was far from alone in struggling to cope without basic care.

Even before the pandemic, 2 in 3 autistic adults didn’t get this crucial basic support, and across England over 1.5 million disabled people, older people and their unpaid carers are living without the care they need. Basic care like help with getting washed, dress and helped with meals. Families are being pushed to break point trying to fill the gaps in the system, which has been made worse by the coronavirus outbreak.

Jo didn’t get the support she needed because her council, like councils up and down the country, just haven’t been given the money by Government to provide these services. This isn’t a luxury, it’s what people’s loved ones need to live a decent life.

Those who signed the petition urge the Government to act as soon to ensure people get the care they need. As the coronavirus pandemic continues, the CSA will be working hard throughout 2021 to keep highlighting why more funding and reform is urgently needed.

CSA’s response to the government’s spending review

November 25, 2020

Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director of Age UK and Co-Chair of the Care and Support Alliance said:

Today the Government passed up the opportunity to play fair with social care, instead granting it insufficient extra money to safeguard the current level of services through next year. Against the context of the pandemic, which is both driving up the level of need, and weakening the finances of providers, this is a decidedly reckless approach. Local authorities are once again being asked to square an impossible circle and this ungenerous settlement does very little to help the NHS either. However, it’s older and disabled people, and their families and carers, who will as ever pay the biggest price, with more likely to have to manage without the support they need. This is a bitter pill to swallow, especially after everything social care has been through this year.

 “The Spending Review documentation says that the Government will bring forward proposals on the longer-term reform of care in 2021, but as a result of the decisions announced today social care will be even weaker by then than it is now. It’s hard not to conclude we’ve gone backwards.” 

CSA launches its ‘Big Social Care Review’

October 26, 2020

Today, the Care and Support Alliance, launched its ‘Big Social Care Review’ to find out about the experiences of those needing care during the pandemic.

 Take part in the survey here

An easy-read version can be found here

The survey is open to all those who need care in England and aims to get a picture of what care people have needed since March, what they have received, and what could have made things better. The last time the alliance ran a survey of this kind was in 2018, and nearly 4,000 people took part. They found that because of a lack of care:
• Over a third of people had not been able to leave their house,
• Over a quarter of people had not been able to maintain basics like washing, dressing, or visiting the toilet.
• 1 in 5 people missed meals because of a lack of care.

The alliance is keen to hear from all those that need care, including carers, to get a good picture of people’s experiences. The results will be used as part of the alliance’s campaigning work to ensure the Government fully funds social care and that people get the care they need when they need it.

Joint APPG Meeting and letter published in The Times

July 28, 2020

The CSA held a joint All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) meeting on 15 July, bringing together Chairs and Co-Chairs of APPGs with an interest in social care.

These Parliamentarians were joined by some of our member organisations who provide the secretariat to these Groups, and discussed some of the issues the social care system has faced during the coronavirus outbreak. They also considered how they can make the case for long-term reform of the system in Parliament and to the Government. 

Chaired by Dame Cheryl Gillan, Chair of the APPG on Autism, the meeting was hugely productive and the group agreed to form a loose sounding board and continue meeting as a collective in the future. 

The meeting also led to a joint letter being published in The Times on Saturday 25 July, calling for a solution to the social care crisis. This was signed by nine Parliamentarians from across both Houses representing these APPGs. A copy of the letter and its signatories is below:

Sir, As chairmen and women of all-party parliamentary groups (APPGs) concerned with social care, we met last week to consider the future of this vital service given all that we have learnt in the past six months. We are from different political parties and did not agree about everything, but we did identify much common ground. Above all, we agreed that a social-care solution is needed now more than ever to help disabled people and those with health conditions, older people and unpaid family carers too. If we can hold this kind of constructive dialogue we think others can and we look forward to formal cross-party talks to be called soon, which we will do everything we can to support.

Dame Cheryl Gillan, APPG on autism
Mark Harper,
APPG on learning disability
Barbara Keeley,
APPG on ageing and older people
Baroness Pitkeathley,
former chairwoman, APPG on carers
Baroness Gale,
APPG on Parkinson’s
Drew Hendry,
APPG on terminal illness
Baroness Greengross,
APPGs on dementia and adult social care
Debbie Abrahams,
APPG on dementia
Simon Hoare
APPG on multiple sclerosis
Dr Lisa Cameron,
APPG on disability

Thank you to all of the Parliamentarians who attended and signed this letter, and to our member organisations who supported this event. We look forward to continuing to work with this group in the future to help secure long-term social care reform.