As a nation we took to our doorsteps to applauded and thank NHS staff and social care workers for their contribution on the Covid frontline. There was an implicit promise that post-pandemic things would get better.
However, in recent weeks, the Government broke a manifesto promise not to increase taxes. A new social care levy will hike national insurance by 10%, from 12% to 13.25%. The Government hope to raise £36 billion from the social care levy over the next three years.
The private sector will benefit, those who have accumulate assets will benefit from the cap of care cost, but the poorest will pay more in national insurance over their working lives while never benefiting from the cap. In answers to Parliamentary Questions, we have also learnt the government will not step in to protect underpaid and undervalued care staff.
Grahame Morris Labour, Easington
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will establish a wage council to determine pay levels in the care sector.
Helen Whately, Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
We have no current plans to do so.
The vast majority of care workers are employed by private sector providers who ultimately set their pay, independent of central Government. Local authorities work with care providers to determine a fair rate of pay based on local market conditions.
A Wage Council offers a new cooperative approach, with workers, trade unions, government officials and care providers setting the minimum pay level in the sector. Wage Councils can protect terms and conditions while improving wages,
The Government have turned their backs on care workers in the same way as they have done with NHS nurses.
The Government’s tax increase will hurt our economy, reduce our quality of life while pouring more money into a failing privatised social care system that is expensive, does not meet individual needs, and trap workers in low pay, with poor working conditions.
The lifetime costs of adult social care vary based on need. In 2010, the Dilnot Commission estimates that 50% of people aged 65 and over will spend up to £20,000 on care costs and that 10% would face costs of more than £100,000.
While all working people will pay the social care levy, the overwhelming majority of people will never benefit from the proposed lifetime cap of £86,000. The cap will exclusively benefit those fortunate enough to have amassed or inherited immense wealth during their life. For the majority of people, the new cap will not protect them from having to sell their homes to pay for care costs.
The social care levy is a sticking plaster for a gaping wound. We need transformational change, a universal social care system, free at the point of need – the same founding principle as the NHS.
The Government made a promise to the British people at the last election, no tax rises and a triple lock to protect pensions. They lied to the public and are now breaking these promises. No tax rises was part of the Prime Minister personal election guarantee.
Honesty, integrity, and leadership, a belief in democracy, principles, and values devoid in the Prime Minister. Rather than lying to the British public, if the circumstances change and the policy must change, the Government have a duty to make their case to the people at a General Election.
If they are unwilling to call an election, they should keep their promise to the electorate.
Social Care is in crisis. At a time when we need transformational change with a National Social Care Service, we are left with a Prime Minister lacking vision and empathy for working people who are being failed by our economy and Whitehall.