Boris Johnson has seemingly “overlooked” disabled people and those with chronic illnesses in his pledge to fix the social care system, according to Age UK’s charity director.
Examining Johnson’s opening remarks as prime minister, Caroline Abrahams said social care has been defined purely in terms of the needs of older people.
“Of course, they are an incredibly important part of the care agenda, but not all of it. About half of council spending on adult social care goes on helping disabled people of working age and those with chronic illnesses, such as MS or MND,” she said.
“It is hurtful and arguably rather insulting to these really large and significant groups of our fellow citizens to appear to be overlooked – and not for the first time – and it would be completely unacceptable if this is what actually happened in practice with any proposed plan.”
Speaking outside 10 Downing Street last week, Johnson said: “My job is to protect you or your parents or grandparents from the fear of having to sell your home to pay for the costs of care.
“And so I am announcing now – on the steps of Downing Street – that we will fix the crisis in social care once and for all with a clear plan we have prepared to give every older person the dignity and security they deserve.”
Reacting to this statement, Abrahams argued that Johnson and his ministers have a “narrow view” of what the care crisis looks like.
“Most people who know about care would not define the ‘crisis’ it faces as being principally about the fact some older people or their families have to sell their homes in order to pay their care bills,” she explained.
“For example, 1.4 million older people have at least some unmet need for care, among whom several hundred thousand have multiple unmet care needs, to the extent that one really does wonder how they manage at all.
“The same is also true, of course, of many disabled adults. This diminishes their lives and can undermine their health and capacity to live independently on their own terms.”