Shelagh Fogarty 1pm - 4pm
We have no social care plan, admitted Tory social care minister
22 November 2019, 16:54
The Conservative social care minister admitted to Shelagh Fogarty that the party is not going into this general election with a social care plan.
Social care minister Caroline Dinenage said that the Tories have had a lot of good reports this year about social care: "What we're not doing in this general election is setting out great plans in great detail because it's too important for this to be ripped apart and used as a political football as we've seen in past general elections."
Ms Dinenage acknowledged that authorities are at tipping point trying to cope with social care, to which Shelagh said that this was due to austerity.
"Heavy, heavy cuts," said Shelagh, "and you know it's been felt. I know you'll want to put forward the positives, but we need to be clear about the picture. Those austerity driven local authority cuts have cut local council spending to the bone, and in the care sector it has meant many home care companies go out of business."
Shelagh continued that if the Conservatives are still going to have a private sector led model on delivering care, that will have to be explicitly addressed if the companies are falling to bits.
Ms Dinenage stated that we have more care companies than ever before and will put in £1 billion of investment every year for the next five years "to stabilise the system." She also said the government need to come together in a cross-party discussion so social care can no longer be weaponised in campaigns.
Shelagh said it seems that the Tories "haven't got a newly designed social care plan to take us in to the future, is that right?"
"Well we've got lots of thought on it," said Ms Dinenage, and continued that as soon as the election is concluded they want to sit down with political parties across the board to gain a consensus on a social care plan.
Shelagh acknowledged the time and date and said: "Will you absolutely vow that that cross-party work will take place?"
"Yes of course," said Ms Dinenage, "it's one of the key three things we're committing to on social care."