Today the PM announced his government’s plan to plug the financial hole in social care.
While we applaud & thank the government’s overall concern & willingness to finally tackle this issue, the Disability Union has concerns.
The money raised by the NI hike will see the vast majority of funds go to NHS. Only £5.4bn for care. As our members use AND are carers they are rightly furious. Social care stands on a precipice of implosion right now as care teams across the country care diligently for vulnerable disabled people on very little. They need better incentives, pay & promises as the shortfall in care worker numbers escalates.
It was also noticed that there was not a single mention of Social Care for Disabled Children who are recipients of the most intensive care, a glaring but not surprising omission.
Disabled children and their carers (predominantly a relative) are either unpaid or surviving on an “allowance” of £67.25 a week. (0.39p an hour over a year, which remained unchanged throughout Covid) There are an estimated 1 million disabled children in the U.K. The amount their carers receive needs to be on par with the minimum wage at the minimum. Of the £36bn raised over the next 3 years, the PM pledges just £0.5bn to unpaid carers who are more than likely to be in incredible poverty & destructive isolation.
The Merger of Health & Care also risks a rollback to the Medical Model of Disability away from the favoured Social Model of Disability which says that people are disabled by barriers in society, not by their impairment or difference. Barriers can be physical, like buildings not having accessible toilets. Or they can be caused by people’s attitudes to difference.
There was NO clarity on how working-age Disabled People will bear the cost of their social care. It appears many people will be trapped on low wages or even at the poverty level or below by spiraling contributions for their care.
A further concern is a mention of working with insurance companies to help individuals gain insurance against care costs. What happened to health care being free at the point of delivery?
We can all see the logic that putting up taxes to fund health and social care is right, but it should be taxed on wealth, not on work.
This is a policy that predominantly benefits the wealthy while being predominantly paid for by the poorest, with no mention of the long-term effects or futures of disabled adults & children and those who care for them.
The Disability union wants clarity for both communities, for our members, as the worry is people will be forgotten and promises unfulfilled, worried that their situations will worsen rather than improve. The messages and promises need to be clearer and more accessible. Too many lives have already been lost to covid (2 out of every 3 tragic deaths), A systems record needs to improve.
The Disability Union and the countries 14 million disabled people and over 1 million carers hold their collective breath.