Chair holds talks with shadow care minister

Independent Care Group Chair Mike Padgham met with the Shadow Social Care Minister today to discuss the crisis in the care of older and vulnerable adults and how Labour would tackle it if it wins the General Election.

Mr Padgham, held talks with Andrew Gwynne, Shadow Minister for Social Care, at Westminster.

He said the talks had been constructive and he had come away with the impression that the shadow minister “got” social care and the challenges it faces.

“It was a very positive and constructive meeting. It was encouraging to hear that Mr Gwynne understood the crisis in social care and the importance of tackling it.

“He reiterated Labour’s pledge to support the social care workforce within its first 100 days in office, which is clearly good news for a sector that is suffering from 152,000 vacancies.

“We also discussed the need for a greater social care presence on the ICBs, local authorities driving down prices, a stronger role for the CQC in commissioning and financial transparency.

“I also invited him up to North Yorkshire to see social care delivery on the frontline.”

Mr Padgham also took the opportunity to give Mr Gwynne a copy of the ICG’s Five Pillars of Social Care Reform document, which sets out how it believes the crisis in the sector should be tackled.

The five pillars are:

  • Ring fence a percentage of GDP to be spent on providing social care to those who already receive it and the 1.6m who can’t get it
  • Create a unified National Care Service, incorporating health and social care
  • Set a National Minimum Wage per hour for care staff on a par with NHS
  • Set up an urgent social care task force to oversee reform
  • Fix ‘fair price for care’ tariffs for things like care beds and homecare visits.

Rising costs, including the cost of implementing a bigger-than-expected increase in the National Living Wage, are heaping further pressures on providers.

The ICG is campaigning for social care reform to be included in the main political parties’ manifestos ahead of the next General Election. It wants to see fresh thinking on social care reform, the creation of a National Care Service and better funding into the sector so that social care workers can be properly paid.

The number of people aged over 65 will rise from 10.5m to 13.8m by 2035 and the sector will need an extra 480,000 people in the social care workforce to provide care to meet extra demand.