It has been revealed that the Local Government Association has sent a cross-party letter to the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, urging action on social care across England. Council leaders want the government to address plans to improve social care in this week's Queen's Speech.
When Boris Johnson became Prime Minister, he pledged to fix social care and make it a priority. Council leaders now want to see the government come good on that promise by setting out plans and taking action. They also said that swift action is vital and that failure to improve could be a huge setback.
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Social care is a priority and plans will be brought forward
While council leaders are desperate for the government to take action, government officials say social care reforms are still a priority. They have also stated that the government will bring plans forward to address social care issues.
However, council leaders are concerned that social care will receive nothing more than a passing comment in the Queen’s Speech, which is where the government lays out its legislative schedule for the year to come.
The letter has been sent to the chancellor is on behalf of council leaders from different parties. In the letter, leaders have asked for social care reforms to be prioritised this year and want them to be a vital part of the recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.
Council leaders want to focus on prevention and support
At present, the social care system is more focused on care homes and hospitals, and this is one of the key areas where local authorities want to see change. They want reforms and funding that will enable them to focus more on prevention and support within the community.
Councils currently fund various care services and want the government to consider providing additional funding through taxes or social care premiums. They have stated that the reforms need to consider the risk of soaring care costs when people develop conditions such as dementia. The letter also said the government needed to see this reform as an investment in people instead of a financial burden that is too difficult to maintain.
LGA Chairman James Jamieson said, "All of us in local government, across the political divide, want to see the Queen's Speech finally set out the plans we have been waiting for. This is about an investment in people, in all of us. A failure to act will be a bitter blow to everyone connected to social care."
As part of the reforms, council leaders want a strong focus on helping people to live independently within their homes and communities. They also want the government to find a long-term solution to provide ongoing funding for social care.