Labour wont be able to instantly fix every Tory failure. But social care would be a good place to start
Indignation fatigue makes it hard to keep track of the many public service failures, so social care has fallen from the public eye since Covid though it goes on getting worse. Its failings block more hospital beds with elderly patients who cant be released because theres nowhere for them to go. More people needing care find rising barriers of ever-higher criteria, leaving them with none. Quality is so appalling in some places that councils in England have spent 7.5bn since 2019 paying for care rated as inadequate by the regulator. All this is laid out graphically in a report, Support Guaranteed, published today by the Fabian Society.
Labours shadow health secretary Wes Streeting and the trade union Unison commissioned the report to lay out a roadmap to a new National Care Service. This is the right time for Labour to explore radical policies, planning how to implement them, as centre-left thinktanks did in the run-up to 1997. It doesnt commit the party to a policy, but it does the research and the thinking, ensuring it is ready for power. The report shows what good care should look like, the order and priorities for improvement and how to do it when funding permits.