Independent living + living wage for family carers

Our proposals on social care to the Labour Policy Forum

Here is our submission to the Labour Policy Forum  to the topic, “Health and social care”.  Please comment and like our submission via this link

Anyone can make a submission, as an individual or organisation, as a Labour Party member or guest.  The consultation ends today, 30 June. 

Women are the majority of disabled people/pensioners reliant on support services, the majority of unwaged family carers, and the majority of paid carers, mainly privatised.  Multiple discrimination in education, housing and employment results in low income, stress and therefore greater ill-health for communities of colour.  In industrial areas, women and men need sickness and disability benefits 10 years earlier.  (See our Work, pensions and equality submission.)

Austerity has resulted in the preventable deaths of 130,000 people (IPPR), 90 people a day dying waiting for social care, 1.4m pensioners without services, an extra 50,100 preventable fuel poverty deaths, including mum Elaine Morrall who was cut off Universal Credit.  The lack of support for disabled people in the community leaves families unable to cope.  All this while the privatised “care” industry profits while abusing young and older disabled people — the abuse of residents is a perk for underpaid “staff”, with men restraining and abusing vulnerable women (Winterbourne View, Whorlton Hall 2019).

We want holistic support and therapy for those of us with mental distress: “hugs not drugs”.  No back-to-work agenda in the NHS.

Debbie Domb shower pic
The late Debbie Domb was key in HAFCAC’s campaign against care charges

We want a free national independent living support service funded from general taxation.  Ban zero-hour contracts and unpaid travel time.  A living wage for support workers and family carers alike.  When support for disabled people and family carers is properly funded, everyone can decide what they want, who should do the work, and how — compared to no choice, isolation, impoverishment and exhaustion, as now.

Carers Allowance must become and be called a living wage so all carers are afforded the status their vital work deserves.  Widen entitlement so no one doing this work faces impoverishment.

We disagree with proposals for a Basic Income which would save the Treasury money by facilitating caring on the cheap (see Guy Standing report).  This is no answer to the social care “crisis”.  BI would replace low benefits, maintaining our poverty and exploitation, while inviting men to become impoverished carers too.  Mothers and all carers, in the family and outside, need a living wage, not an extension of our exploitation.

No to a class-biased two-tier system whereby low-income people continue to get poor-quality care, while those who can pay, or buy private insurance, get better care (Damian Green).  No to increased personal taxation to pay for later care (Jeremy Hunt).

HF DPC launch 20 June 2018
With our friends from Hammersmith & Fulham whose campaigning won the abolition of homecare charges and saved Charing Cross Hospital from closure

Stop charging vulnerable people for care from our disability benefits and pensions.  This is especially punitive as those with highest needs pay most, losing more than our entire care benefit amount.  Labour Hammersmith & Fulham abolished charging – follow their example.

The Care Act entitles disabled mothers to additional support for their caring responsibilities for children, but this is not implemented.  Instead we face punitive investigations for ‘child neglect’ if we ask for the help we are entitled to, and our children are taken into care – deprived of their mother’s protection, isolated and traumatised.  This double discrimination must stop.

A living wage for mothers and other carers would help reverse the collapse in child health (David Taylor-Robinson).  Fewer babies would be disabled from mothers’ malnutrition and poor birthing conditions.  Support breastfeeding.

Restore a fully nationalised NHS and the nurses’ and midwives’ bursary.

Older and disabled people are insulted as ‘bedblockers’ for the lack of support services at home, which we are the first to suffer from.  The integration of NHS and social care must not increase institutionalisation.  The NHS and social care are massive bureaucracies that don’t respond to our needs and wishes, but impose ‘solutions’ on us which often add damage to an already difficult situation.

June 2019



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