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Manifesto matters – what each party has to say about Social Care

Steve Scown, Dimensions CEO, blogs

My last blog, Beyond the B-Word, suggested some things you might look for once the manifestos were published. Well, they’re published now and our new Policy & Public Affairs team has been running their eye over them.

I’m really pleased and excited that the team will be led by Alicia Wood who has very recently joined us from LDEngland.

We’ve brought together this new team because we want to enable the people we support and their families to have a much louder voice both inside Dimensions and within our sector. But for now I’m going to focus on those manifestos.

Social Care

The Conservatives commit to fully implementing the Transforming Care Programme and to reducing stigma and discrimination against people with learning disabilities and autism.

They would include the value of the family home in consideration of means testing for older people’s care provided in the home.

Deferred payments for social care would be extended to people receiving care at home, so that their social care costs are paid after they die and social care would be free for anyone whose assets and income are worth £100,000 or less. There would also be a green paper on the long term future of social care.

Labour would add £8bn to social care over the term of parliament including £1bn in the first year to support the payment of the living wage.

They would adopt the principles of the Ethical Care Charter, and they commit to building a National Care Service alongside the NHS with single commissioning and partnership arrangements, and pooled budgeting.

The Liberal Democrats would ring fence £6bn for health and social care services, raised through a 1p rise on income tax.

They would make social care, primary care, mental health and public health priority spending areas for the ring fenced funds. They would pool health and care budgets by 2020 and develop integrated care organisations.

They would introduce a statutory monitoring body for health and social care services, similar to the Office for Budget Responsibility  and they would establish a cross party health and care convention, to review health and social care sustainability in terms of finances and workforce.

In the longer term they would commission a health and care tax based on a reform of National Insurance contributions.

Social Security and Disability Employment

The Conservatives commit to getting 1 million disabled people into employment by working with employers to give them the advice and support, and by legislate to give people with disabilities personalised and tailored support.

Labour would reverse the cuts to Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) for the Work Related Activity Group (WRAG), this is the financial support people who cannot work receive.

They would also reverse amendments to Personal Independence Payments (PIP), which are made to meet the extra cost of living with a disability.

They would introduce new testing for ESA and PIP entitlement and remove private companies from the process.

They would end reassessment for people with severe long- term conditions, commission a report on the Access to Work programme and raise awareness of neuro diversity in the workplace.

The Liberal Democrats would reverse ESA WRAG cuts and raise awareness of and seek to expand Access to Work. They would improve links between Job Centres and Work Programme providers and the local NHS to ensure those in receipt of health related benefits are getting the care and support they’re entitled to.

They would replace the Work Capability Assessment (WCA), which is used to assess how able someone is to work and what level of income support they will get. Instead they would introduce a new system run by local authorities and a ‘real world’ test that reflects the local labour market.

Supported Housing

The Conservatives make no comment on supported housing or proposed changes to funding mechanisms.

Labour make no comment on supported housing or proposed changes to funding mechanisms but would scrap the ‘bedroom tax’.

The Liberal Democrats would increase Local Housing Allowance rates to reflect the costs of housing in local areas and also scrap the ‘bedroom tax’. These rates are the level at which housing benefit is capped for people renting in the private housing sector.

Hate Crime

As readers of my previous blogs will know Hate Crime is something we’ve focussed on recently with our #Imwithsam campaign.

The Conservatives restate their commitment to their existing agenda on hate crime.

Labour alludes to reducing discrimination, but make no specific commitments.

The Liberal Democrats would make all hate crimes aggravated offences to ensure harsher sentencing for perpetrators

Whatever your political preferences and views about what has or has not been promised if you’re not registered, you can’t vote. Make sure you have your say.