Thank you for contacting me about the urgent need for social care reform. I apologise for the delay in responding to you. We have been inundated with correspondence as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic.
As a woman who has previously worked in a care home, looked after both of her parents towards the end of their lives and served as a former Shadow Care Minister, I am extremely passionate about reforming our country’s social care system. For many years, the Tories have underfunded social care, which left the system in a difficult position to withstand the pressures of COVID-19 when the pandemic hit at the beginning of last year.
We urgently need a free and fair social care system that values the dignity, safety and lives of older people and those with disabilities. Social care reform is a necessity. Labour recognise this, and we are committed to pushing the government to reform social care.
In our 2019 Manifesto, the Labour Party set out our commitment to introducing a National Care Service that works for everyone who needs it. We recognise that social care is a vital public service. That is why we committed to ending the postcode lottery of eligibility for social care. We have instead pledged to create a fairer system that it is free at the point of use to all those who need it. When Labour are in government, social care will be properly funded, and social care staff will be supported in their training and development to provide the best care possible.
In 2010, I was honoured to have been appointed as Shadow Care Minister. In this role, I fought the government tooth and nail to safeguard the interests of our ageing population, from holding the Tories to account in their handling of the Westbourne View and Southern Cross scandals to leading the fight against their Health and Social Care Bill in the House of Commons.
Even now, as the Shadow Secretary of State for International Trade, I am working hard to ensure that our NHS is safeguarded from privatisation as the government continues to negotiate our post-Brexit trade agreements.
I have been calling for radical reform to our social care system for many years and I remain wholly in favour of Barbara Castle’s vision to fully integrate the NHS with social care services. The Health and Care Bill, which is currently making its way through Parliament, will not give people the joined-up care they deserve because it does nothing to address the substantial social care reforms that are needed.
I believe that the state of social care in our country is a national scandal, so please be assured that I will do all that I can to support reform in the system, and I will join my Labour Party colleagues to make the arguments against the Health and Care Bill loud and clear when it returns to the House of Commons in the autumn.
It has been two years since the Prime Minister stood on the steps of Downing Streets and promised to fix our social care system. This is all well and good, but we need a plan without further delay.
Thank you again for contacting me about this important issue. If you would like to contact me again about any other matters, you are welcome to do so.
The Rt Hon. Emily Thornberry MP
Islington South and Finsbury
Shadow Secretary of State for International Trade