Could the social care issue bring down government?


Outgoing UKHCA chair Mike Padgham signed off from the organisation with a warning that failing to act on the current crisis in social care could bring down a government.

In his last speech to the UKHCA’s Annual General Meeting, after nine years as its chair, Mr Padgham said: “Though they might not realise it yet, social care can and will play a big part in the future of this government and future governments.

“There are so many people’s lives affected by care that the day is bound to come when its future is taken seriously.

“If it isn’t I do honestly believe that social care as an issue does have the potential to bring down a government.”

He warned that a lack of proper funding in social care meant 1.2m were now living with an unmet care need, whilst nursing and care homes were closing and homecare providers were handing back unviable contracts.

The Government had to wake up and fund social care better through increased taxation if necessary, and stop trying to get care on the cheap.

“We have seen in recent weeks what happens when you do things on the cheap – look at Ryanair!” Mr Padgham told the AGM.

“As a country we have been trying for far too long to deliver social care on the cheap. Well our aircraft’s got a hole in it, we’re losing height and we’re going to crash!

“There seems little alternative really, other than raising money through taxation to pay for the social care the country needs now and in the future. It is unpalatable, it would be unpopular and certainly not a vote winner.

“But seriously, can anyone think of another way – a magic money tree if you like – where we are going to find the extra money needed?”

His words echoed those of Conservative MP Sir Oliver Letwin who recently admitted that taxes would have to rise to pay for the social care the country needs.

Looking back on his time as Chair of UKHCA Mr Padgham said he was proud of the growth of the organisation in that time.

“It is easy to forget just what a small but ambitious organisation we were just those few years ago,” he said. “Now here we are: respected, listened to and influential at the highest level of government, across the United Kingdom.”

But he said he was also disappointed that successive governments had failed to tackle the issue of social care.

“So many promises over the years have come to nothing – so many White Papers, reports, commissions and even manifestos – have all yielded very little change,” he added. “We have just had another political party conference season and did we hear radical solutions for social care in the future? No, we did not. We never do.”

As his fixed tenure of the Chair post came to an end he said he would continue to fight for social care.


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