After fuelling a crisis in social care by slashing billions in funding, the Tories have said children should be responsible for looking after their elderly parents.
Some 1.2 million people do not get the care they need, according to Age UK—up by 48 percent since 2010. And some 380 care home businesses have collapsed since 2010.
Meanwhile local councils’ social care budgets have been slashed by up to 50 percent. And 300,000 fewer people receive council-funded help than four years ago.
Yet junior Tory health minister David Mowat’s solution is to get families to absorb the cost of care rather than fund services.
He told MPs last week that “nobody ever questions the fact that we look after our children” so the same should apply to “how we look after our own parents”.
It is an insult to suggest that people are uncaring about older people.
It ignores the caring responsibilities taken on by an estimated 6.5 million people in Britain. Of these, 1.4 million provide around 50 hours of unpaid care a week.
It also ignores the often complex needs of older people.
It comes as many of the biggest councils are proposing to hike council tax by a maximum of 4.99 percent to stem the social care crisis.
Surrey’s Tory council is even considering a referendum to introduce a 15 percent rise.
The Local Government Association (LGA) has estimated that there will be a £2.6 billion funding shortfall in social care by 2020.
It argued that the Tories’ “continued underfunding of social care is making it impossible for local authorities to fulfil their legal duties under the Care Act”.
The LGA added that if the government “does not urgently announce any new money for social care, then ministers need to be ‘honest and upfront’ with the public about the limitations of the care and support they can provide.
“This could mean only managing to meet basic needs such as helping people get out of bed in the morning rather than enabling our loved ones to enjoy fulfilling, independent lives at home in the community.”