Letter to the Editor: Yes, the irresponsible neglect of adult social care for an ageing population is “one of the biggest political failures of post-war Britain” (Right Field, Cambrian News, 19 April).No single political party is responsible, but responsibility must be pinned on all 21st century governments, and on every political party that has been in or shared government — which has been Tory or Tory-led over the last 13 years)
What Patrick Loxdale doesn’t want you to notice, or to remember, is that reform of adult social care was a major plank of the Tory party manifesto for the 2019 General Election. That was the election that delivered the startling majority in Parliament that the Tories theoretically enjoy today. At the same time that victory generated a set of manifesto commitments that subsequent Tory administrations have used ever since as a fig leaf to cover their lack of democratic legitimacy.
Reform of adult social care was one of Boris Johnson’s “oven-ready plans”, and after some harrumphing it was actually enacted – i.e voted into law. The Health and Social Care Levy, collected through an increase of 1.25 per cent in the rate of National Insurance, was intended to “raise billions to tackle the Covid backlogs and reform adult social care”. With this regular, dedicated income stream, social care could be reformed, regulated and strengthened, making it less of a drag on the NHS system. Wales would have got its share through the Barnett system.
Then, somehow, something to do with cake, Johnson was gone and Liz Truss was in charge. Her Tory government hated the Health and Social Care Levy so deeply that they “unlegislated” the whole thing in a single day of parliamentary activity. Surely some kind of record!
Then, somehow, something to do with “the markets”, Truss was gone and Rishi Sunak was in charge. He had been Chancellor of the Exchequer in the Johnson government. Surely the Levy, as promised in the manifesto, would be reinstated? But no, in fact the whole problem was booted into the long grass on the far side of the next election.
So there it is. The Tories - party of “now you see it, now you don’t”.
Dave Bradney Llanrhystud
Editor’s note: Oven ready? Or half-baked? Mr Loxdale, no doubt, will have something to say