Fringe Box



Letter: Conservatives Don’t Care About an Adult Social Care System That Works

Published on: 9 Oct, 2020
Updated on: 9 Oct, 2020

From: Fiona White

In response to: County Council Care Should Not Be For Profit

What a dreadful story from your correspondent but, unfortunately, one that is all too familiar. Surrey County Council’s social care system does not work well or benefit those who need help. It has not done so for some time

Individual social workers and carers are not the ones at fault here. This is a direct result of choices taken by those who make the decisions at both Surrey and national level. And it is a view my party shares at all levels of government.

As a Liberal Democrat county councillor with an interest in adult social care, we cannot allow this all too familiar situation to keep happening. The Conservative failure to produce a social care system that works for the people who need it is one of the reasons why the Lib Dem group at Surrey voted against the last budget.

The budget made cuts to the service but didn’t give us enough information to show what impact those cuts would have on residents. Nationally, the Conservatives have been very good at talking about reforming the social care system but have always put off actually making the changes that need to happen.

As a result, people such as the gentleman who wrote to you, will receive less than the help they need and deserve. To add another hurdle, they will be charged for it, even if they have a limited income.

For years, Lib Dem former MP Norman Lamb tried to stop this being a party-political football by calling for a cross-party group to be set up to find a solution, and adult care services would run effectively with support from all political parties. The Liberal Democrats continue to call for this today.

Your correspondent is clearly someone who is able to understand the process and to challenge it. That does not apply to all vulnerable people who need care packages. All too often, it is the most vulnerable people who end up paying for the mistakes of the Conservative administration both at County Hall in Surrey and in government at Westminster.

Not only is providing a fit-for-purpose social care system a priority for Surrey Liberal Democrats, but our new leader, Sir Ed Davey, has also promised to be “the voice of carers”. Ed himself has been a carer for most of his life, having cared for his mother from a young age, and now caring for his disabled son.

His own experience drives his politics and his campaigning for the most vulnerable in our communities. At our autumn conference, in his first speech as leader, he said: “Let me say this, to all of you who need care. To all of you who are carers. To the parents of disabled children. To the thousands of young people, caring for your mum or your dad. I understand what you’re going through.

“And I promise you this: I will be your voice. I will be the voice of the nine million carers in our country. It’s you I’m fighting for.”

This is no empty promise. This is what we, as a party, will be fighting for nationally and locally.

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