By continuing to use the site you agree to our Privacy & Cookies policy

Labour claims £72,000 costs cap is 'a care con'

Government plans to cap care for the elderly at £72,000 are nothing short of a “care con”, shadow health secretary Andy Burnham said today.

Mr Burnham criticised the coalition’s Care Bill, which he said was “not equal to the scale and the urgency of the care crisis”, as he warned that England faced a future shortage of carers.

Speaking during the Second Reading of the Bill, he said: “This Bill, in my view, is not equal to the scale and the urgency of the care crisis in England.

“It fails to implement the Dilnot report and does not provide a lasting solution.

“It does little or nothing to improve care services now or reduce the cost of care for most people.”

Mr Burnham defended Labour’s decision to table a “reasoned amendment to draw the attention of the House to what we see as two major problems of the government’s approach”.

He said that following the government’s decision to fund a cap above existing council budgets “the care system will continue to go backwards and get worse, not better”. He said rather than help vulnerable people today, the government was choosing instead to promise future help.

Speaking of the proposed £72,000 cap, ministers have pledged to set on care costs, he said “it is not what it seems, it is in my view a care con”.

Mr Burnham also warned that failure to tackle the rise in people on zero-hours contracts in the care sector was sending a message to young people that care work is “the lowest calling”.

He said: “Isn’t it a sad reflection, indeed on both sides of the House, that today in England we have 300,000 care staff in England on zero-hours contracts?

“People who don’t have the security of knowing what they will earn from one week to the next, how can we expect them to pass on a sense of security to those that they care for?

“And, really, isn’t it a message that we’re sending out to people who work in our care service, and particularly young people who may be coming to the care service, that looking after someone else’s mum and dad is the lowest of the low, the lowest calling they can answer, when really shouldn’t it be the very highest?”

Labour said it welcomed a number of measures contained within the Care Bill, which would among other things result in stronger legal rights and recognition for carers, which he said “is well overdue”.

He added: “The idea of a cap on the overall cost of care individuals can face establishes an important principle: it says that people should not lose everything they’ve worked for because of their vulnerability in later life.”

But explaining his party’s decision to table an amendment, he said: “We do not believe that the proposals you are putting forward for a cap are what they seem”.

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt, who conceded that the cap was exclusive of living costs, accused Labour of failing to learn from its past mistakes.

Questioning the amendment, he said: “What more will it take for Labour to learn the terrible lessons of those tragedies?”

 

Are you able to Speak Out Safely? Sign our petition to put pressure on your trust to support an open and transparent NHS.

Readers' comments (5)

  • what do you expect from the tories

    they promised no top down re-organisation of the NHS...enough said!!

    Unsuitable or offensive?

  • Zero hours contracts are an appalling way to manage a workforce who provide care to our most vulnerable in society. These staff should be rewarded for the work that they do , in all weathers, not thrown a few pounds here and there. I am a Team Manager and am fed up with the low regard that professionals have for these dedicated staff.

    Unsuitable or offensive?

  • And, really, isn’t it a message that we’re sending out to people who work in our care service, and particularly young people who may be coming to the care service, that looking after someone else’s mum and dad is the lowest of the low, the lowest calling they can answer, when really shouldn’t it be the very highest?”

    I concur - and look forward to a decent pay rise commensurate with this vision. May I suggest 11% as a starting point....

    Unsuitable or offensive?

  • I agree that people working with responsibilities of caring for other people's lives and well-being should be remunerated and respected much more than at present. Cutting salaries sends out the message that carers aren't worth what they are doing, that these people are dispensable, and don't have much skills. That's how much human life + quality of life is valued by employers. Those with money can buy extra resources + care.
    Percentage pay increase perpetuates inequalities of those with higher incomes getting more. A flat rise of £10k across the sector would be far more beneficial to lower salaried earners and take more people away from poverty, and hopefully away from relying on benefits.

    Unsuitable or offensive?

  • Andy
    £10,000 across the sector? You should be the next Health Secretary. Wouldn't be long before you died of a ' heart attack' or 4 self-administered bullets to the head!

    Unsuitable or offensive?

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment.

Related Jobs

Sign in to see the latest jobs relevant to you!

newsletterpromo