General Election: Lib Dem candidate Manda Rigby backs the party's fully-funded social care solution

By Chew Valley Gazette in Politics

Liberal Democrat candidate for the North East Somerset constituency in the upcoming 8 June election, Manda Rigby, has urged voters to embrace the LIberal Democrat proposals for social care and ’save their homes from a forced sale by the Conservative government’.

The LibDem manifesto, launched on Wednesday 17 May, made solving the social care crisis a priority as part of the proposed improvements to the NHS and community health.

Of key importance would be moving towards single place-based budgets for both health and social care by 2020, which would allow the residents of North East Somerset to decide for themselves how best to provide the full spectrum of care in their communities.

Other proposals include improved training for social care workers, and a Carer’s Passport, which would inform carers of their NHS rights, such as flexible visiting hours and access to support.

Most importantly, say the LibDems is their desire to complete the job of implementing the cap on the cost of social care.

The LibDem proposals are a marked contrast to Conservative social care plans, which were released in a manifesto the following day.

The Lib Dems say that Theresa May decided to turn her back on pensioners, a key demographic for successive Tory governments, and vastly increase the financial burden on those unlucky enough to require extended help from carers.

Instead of being shielded by a cap on social care payments as the Lib Dems propose, the elderly can now expect a Conservative government to seize all assets over £100,000, including their home. As the mean average house price in North East Somerset is above £349,000 anyone needing extended social care will be forced to fund it with their estate. The Conservative manifesto does allow for those wanting to hang on to their home to defer payment. The state will deduct the cost from their estate when they die. Local authorities including B&NES Council already offer a Deferred Payment Agreement (DPA) which allows people to secure care fees against their home once the property is sold, which can be on their death, or sooner, if they choose. The cost includes interest payments charged by the council.

“I am obviously not a fan of the current government,” Manda commented, “but I must admit I was shocked to see how casually the Tories have abandoned the elderly with their manifesto.

“Everyone in North East Somerset faces the risk of needing extended social care for themselves or a family member. The step from being independent, or getting by with help from a family carer, to needing social care is stressful enough as it is. We should not have to face these moments knowing the Tory government is planning to swoop down and force a house sale as well.

“I do not know where the previous incumbent MP, Mr Rees-Mogg, would personally stand on this issue. I would be surprised if he is not privately aghast at the Tory policy. But at least in public he is fully supporting Ms May, even when it is plainly against the interests of North East Somerset to do so.

“Whatever Mr Rees-Moggs’ private beliefs, it will not really matter. Theresa May called this election to increase her majority so she can safely sideline serial rebels like Mr. Rees-Mogg. If he is returned to Parliament he will have zero influence - he has burnt so many bridges over the last seven years there is nothing he can do about that now.

“The people of North East Somerset deserve an MP who will embraced by their party leadership - an MP who is empowered to fight for them and who will be listened to.

“Every LibDem MP will be fighting relentlessly to curb the excesses of Theresa May’s policies, saving our NHS and saving our homes from forced sales.”

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