Jeremy Corbyn: ‘Will the Prime Minister accept that there is a crisis in social care?’

Theresa May: ‘I’ve consistently said we recognise the pressures… It’s not just about funding.’

Crisis? What Crisis?

This was Jeremy Corbyn’s best PMQs in memory. 

Corbyn asked ‘is she saying that frail elderly people are less valuable if they are in [low income areas]?’  Well perhaps not explicitly, but that is the effect of her policy (the 3% Council Tax precept). Areas with higher levels of complex needs and service demand tend to be the ones with the smallest revenue raising capacity and it is the elderly and disabled in such areas who will struggle, whilst those in wealthy areas will do better. Vulnerable in a poor area? Sorry, you’re not worth this government’s intervention.

What’s more, this funding model is unsustainble and unfair.  Council tax is regressive – that is it hits the pockets of those with less much harder than it does the well off. As a proportion of their income the bottom 50% of earners pay far more council tax than those at the top. So why is it that those with the least, already struggling to get by, should contribute so much more of their hard earned cash than the best off in our society to prop up our failing system for a year or two more.  

This is not a solution by any stretch of the imagination.

The Tories will no doubt attempt to smear Labour’s campaign for a fair care system. “They’re trying to score party political points, when what we need is to take the politics out and find a long term sustainable solution”. The last part of that is true, but from this Conservative Party that is nothing but words.  Tory leaks and backstabbing ended Labour’s last attempt to reach a behind-the-scenes consensus on health and social care funding.

Resolving the crisis in our care system in a way that is efficient and equitable requires radical action.  There is no tinkering around the edges of this broken system.  Only a radicalism grounded in the reality of our social and economic context will produce the sustainable and equitable solution that our families and friends deserve – and this Theresa May will not deliver.

Members of our families and communities, who need day-to-day support, deserve so much more than a Cinderalla service.   They deserve so much more than the denial of this government.