General Election 2019: What do the main UK political parties have to say on social care?

With the General Election in the UK getting ever closer, the top three political parties have all released their full manifestos, giving an insight into their future plans.

We have read through the manifestos in detail and pulled out the sections on health and social care, to summarise for you what Labour, the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats plan to do to help stabilise the current social care crisis.

If you’re someone providing care (rather than someone looking for care) then why not read this article on our site for people providing care instead – click to go there

Manifestos in alphabetical order

 

Conservative

View the full manifesto here.

While the Conservative government is leading with Brexit as its key priority, it does address issues with the current social care system. The party has also released a full Costings Document alongside the main manifesto. When it comes to social care, the party says that it is looking for a long-term solution to a long-term problem: “We must build the same level of consensus on social care as we have already built on the NHS.” The manifesto talks about building a cross-party consensus to find an answer to solve the problem and stand the test of time. It doesn’t commit to any one option, but does say that the party believes that “nobody needing care should be forced to sell their home to pay for it.” The Conservatives have already committed to £1 billion of additional funding in April 2020, and the manifesto commits to this additional funding being available in every year of the new Parliament. It also says that they would extend the entitlement to leave for unpaid carers, prioritise finding a cure for dementia, and provide £74 million over three years for “additional capacity in community care settings for those with learning disabilities and autism.”

Labour

View the full manifesto here.

Labour has been talking about the introduction of a National Care Service for a while, and this is addressed again in its 2019 manifesto document. The aim of a National Care Service would be to provide “community-based, person-centred support, underpinned by the principles of ethical care and independent living”. The service would provide free personal care for older people. It would also see changes to the eligibility criteria and a lifetime cap on personal contributions to care costs. Overall, Labour hopes that its investments would “more than double the number of people receiving publicly funded care packages, improve the standard of care provided to them and remove the distinction between health and care needs.” This last point leads into its plans to provide a more joined-up care system, with the aim of “enabling people to live longer lives in better health in their own homes.” The National Care Service would work in partnership with the NHS. Labour also wants to improve working conditions for carers (including paid travel time, an end to 15-minute care visits, the option to choose regular hours and better access to training). It also wants to increase Carer’s Allowance for unpaid full-time carers.

 

Liberal Democrats

View the full manifesto here.

Again leading with Brexit, the Lib Dems are not shy about putting their feelings on Brexit – or, more accurately, putting an end to it – at the top of their manifesto, but it does also address the issues of health and social care. First, it plans to raise £7 billion a year in additional revenue through a 1p rise in Income Tax, which would be ringfenced to only be spent on the NHS and social care services. Longer term, the party plans on a dedicated and progressive Health and Care Tax, offset by other tax reductions, to bring both services together. They want to end the GP shortfall, while also ensuring that GPs, along with other health professionals, are trained to provide multi-disciplinary health and care services. They also promote a more joined-up health and care service, and also plan for the creation of a Professional Body for Care Workers to help deliver clear career pathways. They want to see more choice for end of life care, as well as a move towards free end-of-life social care both at home or in a hospice. There are also plans to help family carers, with a statutory guarantee for regular respite breaks for unpaid carers, provide a package of carer benefits, and change the thresholds for Carer’s Allowance.

 

Make sure that you have your say and vote in the General Election on December the 12th 2019.

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