I am off to the Tory conference next week as part of the Leonard Cheshire Access all Areas scheme. Putting personal political feeling aside I'm both excited to go away, I love adventures and new experiences, and full of trepidation as I know I will be exhausted and it won't be easy changing minds or even opening them up.
I have chosen to focus on Social Care only - other amazing women Kali Franklyn and Steff Bensted are focusing on Welfare reform.
So why Social Care? In part the timing is good as the Care & Support Bill is working its way through parliament at the moment - it goes to the commons in mid October.
You can read some fact sheet here: Fact sheets
If you receive social care or think you need it this bill is massively important. I'm focusing on three things:
1. Lowering the proposed National threshold from Substantial/Critical to Moderate. Currently every single council with a social care department can decide what level to set its threshold at - threshold being the line you need to cross to get care. Many are setting the bar so high its a council of last resort.
The national threshold would mean all councils have to use the same criteria at the same level - so far so good, but it's still too high.
Im arguing that if we have a moderate needs national threshold it will:
-Save money in the long run as many will need small awards often less than £10K a year and can maintain their independence at that so they don't fall into boom and bust cycles of ever more expensive care needs.
-Particularly for people with mental ill health a small ongoing package of support could mean the difference between coping and not in fact for some may lead to recovery, rather than the ever present fear of falling off the cliff edge - I'm talking three hours a week to make sure shopping is done, paper work sorted etc. Not even the level of "true independent living".
-Be an investment in working aged disabled people that would enable them to make choices about how they lived their life from volunteering, studying, working, bringing up kids what ever - if they are unable to get much needed support then all those aspirations are just that aspirations - Yes if people had moderate support the different to their lives and that of loved ones would be massive. Let's not forget unpaid carers in here.
- A new assessment and you might lose all the current support because of different rules see my first argument.
- The transition from one place to another is bound to fail, not get sorted in time, be a nightmare or all three and you might then lose the great new job, not get your house, miss deadline for school all sorts of things you don't think about if you don't need care.
I totally agree with Jane on this and while she withdrew her amendment - it is something we need.
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