Liz Kendall calls for robust proposals from government and warns that funding has reached "breaking point"
Labour's shadow healthminister Liz Kendall MP said today:
The collapse of Southern Cross caused huge concern for residents and their families and the Government is right to say action should be taken to try and prevent a similar crisis from happening again. Labour will consider the Government's proposals in detail to see if they are robust, workable and fit for the future.
In particular, we are concerned about whether the proposed requirements on care home providers to provide financial information are sufficiently strong, whether the Care Quality Commission or Monitor have the skills, experience or resources to properly scrutinise the financial structures of companies, or the power to take effective action to prevent financial failure if risks emerge.
However, the underlying challenge facing the Government is to tackle the crisis in social care funding. There have been financial pressures for many years , but the Government's cuts are no driving care services to breaking point.
More than £1.3 billion has been cut from local council budgets for older people's social care since the Coalition came to power. As a result, many local authorities are freezing or cutting their fees to care homes for council funded residents, and self-funded residents are being faced with ever increasing bills.
Labour initiated cross party talks on Andrew Dilnot's proposals for long-term care funding because we believe in the need for lasting reform. For reform to be effective, it must address the immediate social care crisis, as well as put in place a better, fairer system for the future - something Dilnot has himself argued. This is the real test now facing the Government, including in next week's Autumn statement.