Speeches sourced from the Labour party’s online archive More…

After a fresh round of increases, the average care user is paying £655 more per year for home care than when David Cameron came to power.
Social care in England is close to collapse and Ministers are "fiddling while Rome burns", Commons will be told later today.
Severe Government cuts to local authority budgets which fund social care have left the most vulnerable people in society paying spiralling charges for their own care, a Labour survey reveals today.
A survey of 64 council social care departments shows the care charges older and disabled people will pay this year. It reveals:
- People needing home care or home help services will face bills on average £655 higher (10.6%) this year compared to the last year of the Labour Government.
- 'Dial-a-ride' transport services have doubled in price - from an average of £1.92 to £4.12 - over the same period.
- 'Meals on wheels' cost an extra £235 per year.
- A postcode lottery in the price of home care, meals and transport services. An hour of home help costs £20 in Brighton and Hove, whilst Tower Hamlets in London offers it for free; several councils provide free transport services, whilst Warwickshire charge as much as £12 per ride; and Richmond charges £5.99 per meal compared to £2.30 in Warrington.
- People in Conservative areas pay more for each service on average than friends and family in Labour-controlled areas - on average £15 per week, or £780 per year, more for home care; an extra £2.10 per journey and an extra £160 a year on meals.
The news comes as the Commons prepares to debate Government plans for social care later today. Labour will argue that a new £72,000 cap on care costs - £144,000 per couple - offers scant comfort to people hit by higher charges now. By failing to face up to the collapse of council care services, Ministers are "fiddling while Rome burns".
The Government has cut billions from local authority budgets, leaving councils with little option but to reduce funding for social care and increase user charges.
Last week, the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) revealed that Government cuts to councils will mean a further £800m taken from care budgets in the next year - totalling £2.68 billion so far under the Coalition.
Andy Burnham MP, Labour's Shadow Health Secretary, said:

"Promises of a far-off cap on care bills will provide scant comfort to families facing higher care charges now.
"By cutting councils to the bone, David Cameron is forcing spiralling 'dementia taxes' on the most vulnerable people in society.
"The Government says it is acting to help people with care costs. But the reality behind the spin is that, under the Tory-led Government, people's savings are being washed away more quickly than ever before.
"Ministers are promising to give a little in the future with one hand, while grabbing a fortune out of people's bank accounts now. To many families, it will feel like a cruel con-trick.
"These essential services are a lifeline for people and crucial to help them stay in their own homes. If people can't pay the extra charges, they are more likely to end up in hospital which is bad for them and costs the NHS more.
"The Government's severe cuts to council budgets, with social care pared down to the bone, are a false economy. Hospitals are now under intense pressure and that is a direct result of the collapse in social care provision.
"Ministers are in denial about the crisis in social care and fiddling while Rome burns. Without urgent action to help councils, under this Tory-led Government vulnerable people will be paying higher 'dementia taxes' year on year."

Keyboard shortcuts

j previous speech k next speech