Tom backs Social Care Lobby of Parliament

Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland Labour MP, Tom Blenkinsop, today (5th March 2012) is backing a lobby and rally at the House of Commons calling for a better deal in social care and against possible changes to social care if the Health Bill is, in fact, passed. The rally is being organised by the national charity for the elderly, Age UK.

The charity has launched a Care in Crisis petition calling on the Government to reform the care system for older and disabled people so that everyone gets the care they need to live with respect and dignity. The petition calls on the Government to take urgent action to ensure that:

· Everyone who needs care receives it and is treated with the respect they deserve
· No-one is forced to sell their home or sacrifice all their savings to pay for the care they need
· People are able to plan and prepare for care in advance

Tom said “These are simple aims and arguments and are basic rights for all elderly people, their families and carers.

This coalition Government came to power talking about reforming care but the issue has been repeatedly shelved. With the recent budget cuts and a growing older population the system is increasingly confusing, unfair and unsustainable.

All the recent cuts to care and support services have created huge pressures in the care system which hurt some of the most vulnerable in our society. The quality of care is often poor, funding is hugely unfair and care packages are frequently inadequate meaning people are left to struggle on without the help and support they need to lead independent lives. The proposals in the Government’s Health Bill will not give this. Instead all we are likely to see if it gets onto the statute books will be more out-sourcing of elderly care to the private sector – the sector that gave us Southern Cross.

It is clear to me that urgent reform of the social care system is needed now as elderly people cannot hold off any longer. Too many people rely on the care system on a daily basis for it to be sidelined as too ‘difficult’ or ‘costly’ to fix. Many of those who need help and support are being badly let down by a system that is at breaking point, while others find themselves forced to sell their homes in order to pay for support they need.

In the longer run, I have argued consistently that a future Labour Government should commit itself to a National Care Service to both partner and augment the NHS. This is an issue which will not go away.”

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