Nadra Ahmed OBE, chair of the National Care Association, and Mike Padgham, chair of the Independent Care Group (ICG), have given CHP their verdicts on the election manifestos of the three main political parties.
While both welcomed additional funding pledges they also expressed their disappointment with the lack of substance on offer.
Nadra said: “One hopes the pledges around social care are not just sound bites and there is substance behind the rhetoric. As we enter a new decade with a new government the least we should expect are sustainable plans to meet the needs of the growing population reliant on care and support from a sector which has been brought to its knees by empty promises. We have to address the challenges of recruitment, image and funding….which I have not seen any detail on!”
Nadra said the Conservatives’ pledge of an additional £1bn annual funding was “interesting to say the least” while noting the devil would be in the detail.
She stressed the need to “ring fence” any additional monies coming through the NHS or local authority routes as “non-negotiable”.
Mike said: “The Independent Care Group is a non-political organisation so we won’t come down in favour of one party over another.
“However, in terms of social care it is clear that the parties treat it very differently, with none really grasping it as the number one domestic issue. The biggest challenge is that people have lost trust in all politicians that any of them can deliver on social care.”
Mike said the lack of detail in the manifesto of the Conservatives, who enjoy a significant double digit percentage lead in the polls, left him “dismayed”.
He commented that the additional £1bn offered by the Tories each year would not even “touch the sides” in terms of ending the social care crisis.
The ICG chair added that the Tories’ manifesto was full of “vague promises” and fell “well short” of Boris Johnson’s pledge to fix social care.
Mike said Labour had been the only party to offer to promise long term social care reform.
Commenting on their manifesto, he said: “It is moving in the right direction, with more funding pledged and a vision of a longer-term plan for social care, albeit that NHS and social care are still being treated separately, which is disappointing.
“The challenge for Labour of course is whether they will be elected and even after that, whether they will be able to implement all their promises, including social care.”
Mike said the Liberal Democrats’ proposals lacked a long term plan and while, welcoming the announcement of its annual additional £7bn on health and social care, he said this would have “little impact” when split with the NHS.