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From The Socialist newspaper, 15 September 2021

Social care plans: A sticking plaster instead of surgery

Cuts in social care are killing, photo Dave Beale

Cuts in social care are killing, photo Dave Beale   (Click to enlarge)

Dave Gorton, Chesterfield Socialist Party

Social care has been in crisis for decades. Successive governments have deliberately diverted resources from care provision into the pockets of big business through privatisation. Despite the hype, Boris Johnson's new health and social care plans won't radically alter things.

With 66 references to 'Covid' and 'pandemic' in just 29 pages of the government's plans, it's clear they are little more than a sticking plaster for current events, rather than the surgery needed for a chronically underfunded sector.

The Tories openly broke election pledges from less than two years ago by raising national insurance contributions (NICs) next year. This will hit the poorest hardest, including those already suffering Universal Credit cuts. People with an annual income above 50,000 pay much less as a proportion of their income, and NICs are not paid on unearned income, such as interest, dividends or rents.

Far from tackling the crisis, just 5.4 billion of the increased revenue from higher taxation is allocated to social care over three years. The rest goes directly to the NHS, and itself is not enough to cover the 10 billion extra for 2022-3 called for by NHS Providers.

The Treasury has acknowledged that the 5.4 billion is largely for "implementing" the new caps, and ensuring councils pay more to private care home providers. Local authorities, unable to foot the bill, are encouraged by the government to raise council tax to plug the gap.

Social care is close to meltdown. Staff vacancies, already around 120,000, are set to rocket to 170,000 by the year end because of the mandatory vaccination in care homes legislation. 95% of providers told ITV news they are unable to take on all new clients and 30% of providers are handing back some, or all, existing contracts to local authorities because they can no longer fulfil them. Nearly 300,000 people are awaiting social care assessments, care and support, up by 26% over the last three months.

In 1979, two-thirds of care was NHS or council-run, but now 84% is for-profit. The largest three owners of care homes in the UK are private equity companies, whose very existence is solely to accumulate profit, yet the workforce is one of the lowest paid, with good working conditions virtually non-existent. These companies must be brought into democratic public ownership, with compensation only on the basis of proven need.

We need an integrated, nationalised health and care service, paid for by the super-rich, many of whom have profited from privatised care and exploiting care workers.

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In The Socialist 15 September 2021:


What we think

We need a new political party for workers and youth

What's behind the worker shortages, and what can be done about it?


News

Social care plans: A sticking plaster instead of surgery

Hands off the Universal Credit uplift

Unite young and old to defend the pensions triple lock


Climate change

Climate change, capitalism, and the struggle for socialism


Youth and students

We won't pay for capitalism's failings

Scrap tuition fees - end university marketisation

Returning to campus: Students need to fight

Campaigning for socialism at Oxford Brookes Uni

Youth Fight for Jobs launches campaign in Brighton


Workplace news

NSSN trade union rally reflects working-class anger to fight back

Oaks Park school: Redbridge Labour council backs strike-breaking bullies

Save jobs and services - nationalise rail

Weetabix - workers have had enough

Carmarthenshire Unison: 'Recognise our union!'

Goodlord dispute: Labour's leadership weasled out of backing strike action


NHS

Take the wealth off the super-rich to fund: NHS and social care, pay and benefit rises

Deaths of despair: Health crisis - capitalism in the dock

On the frontline, and still fighting for the NHS

Solidarity to the striking workers at Charit and Vivantes hospitals in Berlin


Campaigns

Putting socialism on the map in Chichester

Reclaiming Pride as protest in Nottingham

Fighting fund target reached: Help us continue to raise our banner and programme


Review

Nuclear Folly: A New History of the Cuban Missile Crisis

TV review - Grenfell: The Untold Story


 

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Related links:

NHS:

triangleSocial care funding needed now

triangleBarking NHS: "Sorry, please try again later"

triangleUnite health members say no to 3% and vote for action

trianglePay NHS and care staff to address worker shortages

triangleBromsgrove protest for NHS fair pay

Government:

triangleThe 'winter of discontent' - When workers could take no more

triangleDVLA: Workers ballot on further strike action

trianglePlace Unite at the head of the anti-Tory movement

triangleWorkers need a pay rise

Care Homes:

triangleTV Review - Help: Heart-wrenching portrayal of Covid care home crisis

triangleFamilies demand rights for care home residents

triangleLiverpool Council must save care homes

Council:

triangleMarch to save Stratford arts jobs from Newham Labour attacks

triangleHackney: Stop closure of children's centres

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