Shelagh Fogarty is Leading Britain's Conversation.
12 December 2016, 12:01
It costs almost £40,000 a year to provide care for an elderly person. Hedge funds are making a fortune from this but we’re told the problem is a minimum wage rise for carers. James says we need to get angry at the right people.
Local councils have seen a 40% reduction in government grants since 2010 and haven’t been allowed to raise taxes to pay for social care, which some are warning “could topple at any moment”. At the same time, costs are spiralling.
Social care is in crisis while hedge funds make a fortune out of it.
“Have a guess, go on, how much do you reckon it costs on average? Just somewhere where you go because you're old, not because you're poorly, just because you're old, old and frail.
“£39,000 a year. I think that's more than Eton.”
Some are arguing that a rise in the minimum wage for carers, who are some of the lowest paid people in the country, will cause damage to the sector. But James says the real problem is with those at the top.
“Do you know what I heard today? About how tough it is for this sector to cope with the increase in the minimum wage, with a national living wage.
“We're already looking at the people who are by definition earning the least possible in this country and we're trying to blame them for getting a little bit more for the fact that there's a problem in a sector where a lot of the property is actually owned by hedge funds.”
For James, this is just another example of those with vested interests and positions to protect trying to change the focus onto those with the least power. He says we need to start looking at the real causes of these problems and not get distracted by "meaningless phrases".
“At what point do we actually start directing our anger at the people who deserve it instead of these meaningless phrases about 'metropolitan elites'?
“I’ve worked out what elite means by the way this weekend, in case you're wondering, in the context of modern politics. The 'elite' is a word ascribed to anybody who is motivated by anything other than self-interest. That's what an elite is.”