Tales of the Unexpected

It’s now been a week since the country woke up to the news of a hung Parliament. Everything that Theresa May hoped to achieve has backfired – aiming to gain an overall majority in the House of Commons, to secure the clear mandate to steer us out of Europe, to annihilate the Labour Party and Jeremy Corbyn, sorry Theresa it wasn’t your night. Mrs May’s offer of strong and stable leadership has gone out of the window. We are now left in a bit of a pickle – to put it mildly and it’s plain to see the election has been an epic fail for the Conservative Party. Although, they are still hanging on in there.

Clearly, there has been a surge in popularity of the Labour Party and I wonder if this is down to their own manifesto pledges or the disastrous manifesto of the Tories – maybe both contributed to the end result. The plans for Social Care and the so-called ‘dementia tax’ of course didn’t help.

It has emerged today that two key Ministers, Communities Secretary Sajid Javid and Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt were told about this Social Care proposal less than 24 hours before the launch, this was due apparently to the Cabinet Office examining the policy rather than the specific departments. Of course, once the Prime Minister announced the plans it became quite clear it hadn’t been thought out properly (or delivered clearly) and the U-turn commenced. It has proved very unpopular and yesterday the Alzheimer’s Society launched a petition against it.

The focus of the proposal was on older people but, what about working age people with disabilities that require care and support? Where’s the solution to address the challenges providers and people with learning disabilities face? Nowhere it seems – and that is not acceptable. The sector is still very delicately balanced on a knife-edge.

So what now now? Well, as I write this the deal with the DUP has not yet been done (the concept of that ‘coalition’ alone scares me!) and the Queen is yet to address the Parliament, so in truth we don’t know what will be plucked from the manifesto or dropped like a lead balloon. What we do know is that regardless of the Political shenanigans there still needs to be some unity in addressing the critical issues affecting social care. There is another call for a cross-party approach to this, let’s hope that at least comes to fruition – and soon.

Lisa Lenton
ARC England Director