Jeremy Corbyn has written a letter to Prime Minister Theresa May, calling for “urgent talks” to address a deepening crisis in adult social care.
The Labour leader blasted £4.6bn in cuts to social care services since 2010, claiming “elderly and disabled people are being denied the dignity and care they so desperately need”, and accused the government of failing to properly fund the social care system.
Mr Corbyn said Tory proposals to increase Council Tax by up to 6% over the next two years, to help councils pay for the care of elderly and disabled people, “will lead to a postcode lottery and shift the cost on to hard-pressed council taxpayers”.
In his letter to Theresa May, Mr Corbyn called for an urgent meeting “at the highest level” to discuss the possibility of “emergency support” for social care to tide services over until April 2017, whilst also calling for a long-term solution to the funding crisis and restructuring of social care provision.
Mr Corbyn urged the PM to grasp the “opportunity to avert a crisis this winter”, warning the growing social care crisis “threatens the wellbeing, dignity and lives of hundreds of thousands of older people”.
In his urgent plea to Theresa May, the Labour leader writes: “I am writing to request urgent talks at the highest level to agree urgent action to avert the deepening social care crisis facing many older people this Christmas.
“The social care system is breaking down from lack of support. I hope you will be prepared to discuss both emergency support for social care to tide services over until April, as well as longer-term solutions to the funding and restructuring of social care provision.
“After £4.6 billion of cuts to social care budgets since 2010, more than a million elderly people are not getting the care they need. Social care is in a crisis which threatens the wellbeing, dignity and lives of hundreds of thousands of older people.
“The failure of your government, and that of your predecessor, properly to fund our social care system, has meant the burden has increasingly fallen on local authorities, which have themselves suffered heavy and continuous cuts.
“Relying on the council tax to plug the shortfall will lead to a postcode lottery and shift the cost on to hard-pressed council taxpayers. The government must take responsibility.
“In the sixth richest country in the world, it is a national disgrace that elderly and disabled people are being denied the dignity and care they so desperately need.
“This is a question of priorities. Your government has chosen to cut corporation tax while over a million of Britain’s disabled and older people are being denied the care they deserve.
“We can avert the crisis this winter while developing a sustainable solution that treats all of our disabled and older people with the dignity that they have earned.
“There is an opportunity to avert a crisis this winter. Will your government agree to take it?”
A Conservative Party spokesman told the Huffington Post: “Labour have no credibility at all when it comes to social care.
“They had 13 years to find a long-term solution and totally failed to do so. “Ahead of the 2015 election, the Labour Party promised no additional money would be spent on social care.
“Now they suggest raising corporation tax, a pot of money they have already promised to spend on higher welfare payments, scrapping university tuition fees and ending public sector pay restraint.”