Socialist Worker

Care cuts kill thousands—but councils pass the buck

by Raymie Kiernan
Issue No. 2542

Tory cuts are causing a crisis in social care

Tory cuts are causing a crisis in social care


New analysis has linked 30,000 excess deaths in 2015 to the Tories’ health and social care cuts. It is the largest increase in deaths in the post war period.

The Royal Society of Medicine published the shock figure last Friday in a study of the reasons behind the rise in mortality rates in England and Wales.

And researchers say that there are already worrying signs of an increase in mortality rates in 2016.

Tory austerity has created a deep crisis in social care which it has compounded by slashing billions of pounds in funding to the NHS.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was right when he told Labour councillors last weekend, “People are dying because of the choices made by this government.”

Even the Tory chair of the Local Government Association (LGA) is openly criticising Theresa May’s government.

Lord Porter of Spalding warned that people “might no longer receive the dignified care and support they deserve”.

But 1.2 million vulnerable people already cannot get the social care they need.

Nearly all councils in England are preparing a council tax hike to fund social care.

Scandalously

Yet the £543 million this would raise will be swallowed up by the cost of paying scandalously low paid care workers the Tory National Living Wage, which will stand at just £7.50 an hour in April.

To simply maintain current levels of social care would require an extra £1.1 billion in funding.

Social care is one of many local services being cut to the bone as councillors pass on Tory cuts that target the poorest and most vulnerable –instead of resisting them.

Corbyn said local government is “the frontline” in Labour’s battle against Tory austerity.

He added that local services are “in a state of emergency” due to funding cuts of up to 60 percent for some councils.

But try telling teaching assistants having their pay slashed by up to a quarter by Labour councils that their solution is to rely on the protection of the Labour Party.

Workers at Clackmannanshire Council, who are under threat from Labour’s 350 compulsory job cuts, won’t be convinced by Corbyn saying the Scottish National Party (SNP) “act like Tories in Holyrood”.

It is true that the SNP is devolving the axe away from Holyrood (see below) as the Tories are from Westminster, but in many places it is Labour councils swinging it and attacking services.

If the best Labour can do is apologise and squirm about having “difficult choices”, then Corbyn is in serious trouble.

Tory cuts are destroying people’s lives now and we need to see some real leadership and effective resistance from the Labour Party and the trade unions.


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