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General Election 2017 and what it could mean for social care

Posted on 21/04/2017

A snap General Election will be held on 8 June this year, in a surprise move by Prime Minister Theresa May. The UK now faces a short period of campaigning to sway the voters, with key topics already starting to make the headlines.

Brexit is one of the main reasons for the sudden election, with a divided Westminster making it hard to head into the long and difficult negotiations that are needed over the next couple of years. As such, plans for Brexit will be at the forefront of many parties’ campaign policies.

Another key area that will be debated and campaigned heavily will be that of health and social care. The ITV news site says that social care and health care could be influencing factors in the election vote, making it high on the agenda for parties to outline their plans.  

Social care is under a lot of pressure currently, with massive cuts being made by councils. A new report by the Institute for Fiscal Studies says that one in ten councils have cut adult social care spending by more than a quarter since 2010, and six in seven councils have made at least some cuts. Across England as a whole, spending by councils on social care per adult resident fell by 11% in real terms from 2009/10 to 2015/16.

With the ageing population on the rise and many of us living longer than in previous generations, the strain on the social care system is only going to get worse. More family members are having to help in the role of carer, while many people are forced to sell their homes to fund social care in later life.

The recent Spring Budget did address these issues, with an additional £2 billion promised to social care over the next three years, with the first bullion available for 2017/18 to help ease the crisis. While the injection of cash is sure to help, it’s not enough to close the funding gap that is set to widen in social care in the coming years.

As such, the key parties standing in the General Election will need to outline their policies on how the NHS and social care services will be improved and funded to ensure that those who need help in the community are able to receive it. It’s an issue that will affect all of us, either directly or through family members and friends. 

Chair of the Independent Care Group Mike Padgham has urged leaders to ensure that social care is a priority: “For the sake of our oldest and most frail and vulnerable people we have to provide a better future for social care and the General Election gives all politicians a golden opportunity to seize the moment and set out their future plans. We have to decide once and for all how we fund and deliver social care in this country as the issue cannot be dodged any longer. This must be a General Election about care.” 

Over the coming weeks, we will be reviewing the key policies and promises made by the election leaders in regards to health and social care. 

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