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‘Top priority’: Council chief vows to protect vulnerable as Care Act changes loom

The council has promised to protect the vulnerable as the government considers a bill that would temporarily remove the legal duty for them provide social care

27 March, 2020 — By Sam Ferguson

THE council has vowed to spend more money and put more resources and effort into caring for the borough’s vulnerable during the coronavirus crisis, as the government considers a bill that would temporarily remove the legal duty for them provide social care to all who are eligible.

The government’s coronavirus bill, which will be debated in parliament on Monday, includes clauses that would suspend rules to ensure councils meet the needs of vulnerable older people, disabled people and care leavers moving into adult social care.

Town Hall leader Richard Watts told the Tribune coronavirus had highlighted the “short-sightedness”of cuts to social aid, and he promised residents that caring for the vulnerable was the council’s“top priority”.

“Frankly,we’ve seen 10 years of massive cuts in social care come home to roost, but absolutely in Islington the priority will be more money and more effort and more resources to social care, because we’ve got such a massive job to do at the moment,” he said.

“I think it’s sending unfortunate signals to suspend that legislation. For years and years social care has been a Cinderella service that has been the first place government has gone to for cuts, and I think maybe this crisis is teaching us what a short-sighted approach that was and what a critical service it is.

“To reassure your readers, I think social care is our top priority at the moment. “There’s no way we’re going to make foolish cuts to that service at the moment.”

The charity Disability Rights UK said:“Given the already broken social care system,this bill will almost inevitably leave many thousands of disabled people without essential support or any rights to request this support.

“Rolling back our rights is not good for anyone and, in the current circumstances,will put many lives at risk.

“Rather than removing disabled people’s right to social care support,the Government must treat our essential social care service as key infrastructure, alongside the NHS, and as such it must immediately provide the necessary funding to keep this vital service running.”

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