New PM pledges clear plan to fix crisis in social care ‘once and for all’

Boris Johnson’s pledge to fix the social care crisis has been welcomed by officials working in the sector.

But they warned they wanted to see quick action after years of “broken promises”.

George McNamara, Independent Age’s director of policy and influencing, described the Prime Minister’s promise as “welcome” but added that “after years of broken promises, a bold and ambitious plan for reform must be delivered in his first 100 days”.

Mr Johnson made the pledge in his first speech as prime minister, saying: “I am announcing now on the steps of Downing Street that we will fix the crisis in social care once and for all, with a clear plan we have prepared to give every older person the dignity and security they deserve.”

Mr Johnson gave no further details.

Age UK said it was “hugely encouraged” by Mr Johnson’s words.

Caroline Abrahams, charity director at Age UK and the co-chair of the Care and Support Alliance (CSA), said: “We are hugely encouraged that within a few minutes of taking office our new prime minister has pledged to fix the crisis in social care.

“It also means that the debate can shift from ‘if’ to ‘how’.

“Putting the right policies in place will be crucial and Age UK and the CSA look forward to engaging with the new Government on what needs to be done.

“If Mr Johnson can make good on his pledge he will deserve the heartfelt thanks of millions of disabled adults, older people and their carers, right across the country.”

Mencap, the learning disability charity, was “pleased” that Mr Johnson appeared to suggest that social care will be “a priority for his government”.

The organisation’s head of policy and public affairs, Dan Scorer, said “we eagerly await his clear plan” regarding the social care crisis, adding: “This plan must address working age disabled adults who account for half the social care budget.

“People with a learning disability are less likely to have homes and or life savings that can be used to fund their care.

“A learning disability is a lifelong condition and people need care throughout their adult life.

“We hope the Government will think long and hard about how their plans will energise not only the wealthy, who can afford their own care or insurance, but also disabled people, who have already been left behind by years of austerity.”

Genevieve Edwards, of the MS Society, said it was right that keeping the social care system afloat was an “immediate priority” for a new prime minister.

She called for Mr Johnson to widen his concern so that help would be provided for disabled adults and carers as well as older people.

She said: “More than two years ago we were promised a Green Paper to address the care crisis in England, but have still seen no action.

“In the meantime, one in three people with multiple sclerosis continue to struggle without vital care to get dressed, wash and eat.

“MS is relentless, painful and disabling, and without an urgent injection of funding tens of thousands of people who need social care will suffer.

“We must find a long-term solution that’s not just about older people, who were Mr Johnson’s focus – disabled adults and carers need support too.”

Sally Copley, the Alzheimer’s Society’s director of policy and campaigns, said it was “abundantly clear that swift and decisive action is needed – care reform has been ignored for decades and the system is on its knees”.

She said: “The commitment to protect people from having to sell their homes and give older people the respect they are owed is long awaited and one that we will hold the prime minister and his government to account for.

“While the Government sets out an urgent plan for long-term reform we are calling for the immediate investment in an NHS Dementia Fund to address the devastating costs people with dementia are facing across the country.”

Carers UK chief executive Helen Walker said: “We look forward to working with the new government to find a solution that will provide families with affordable and high quality care services, and unpaid carers the financial and practical support they need to care without putting their lives on hold.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s first speech in full

Here is Boris Johnson’s first speech as Prime Minister as delivered in Downing Street:

“Good afternoon.

“I have just been to see Her Majesty the Queen who has invited me to form a Government and I have accepted.

“I pay tribute to the fortitude and patience of my predecessor and her deep sense of public service.

“But in spite of all her efforts it has become clear that there are pessimists at home and abroad who think after three years of indecision that this country has become a prisoner to the old arguments of 2016 and in this home of democracy we are incapable of honouring a democratic mandate.

“And so I am standing before you today to tell you the British people that those critics are wrong.

“The doubters, the doomsters, the gloomsters, they are going to get it wrong again.

“The people who bet against Britain are going to lose their shirts because we are going to restore trust in our democracy and we are going to fulfil the repeated promises of Parliament to the people and come out of the EU on October 31, no ifs or buts.

“And we will do a new deal, a better deal that will maximise the opportunities of Brexit while allowing us to develop a new and exciting partnership with the rest of Europe based on free trade and mutual support.

“I have every confidence that in 99 days time we will have cracked it.

“But you know what, we are not going to wait 99 days because the British people have had enough of waiting.

“The time has come to act, to take decisions, to give strong leadership and to change this country for the better.

“And though the Queen has just honoured me with this extraordinary office of state, my job is to serve you, the people.

“Because if there is one point we politicians need to remember it is that the people are our bosses.

“My job is to make your streets safer and we are going to begin with another 20,000 police on the streets and we start recruiting forthwith.

“My job is to make sure you don’t have to wait three weeks to see your GP and we start work this week with 20 new hospital upgrades and ensuring that the money for the NHS really does get to the front line.

“My job is to protect you, or your parents or grandparents, from the fear of having to sell your home to pay for the costs of care and so I am announcing now on the steps of Downing Street that we will fix the crisis in social care once and for all with a clear plan we have prepared to give every older person the dignity and security they deserve.”

“My job is to make sure your kids get a superb education wherever they are in the country and that’s why we have already announced we are going to level up per-pupil funding in primary and secondary schools.

“And that is the work that begins immediately behind that black door.

“And though I am today building a great team of men and women I will take personal responsibility for the change I want to see.

“Never mind the backstop – the buck stops here.

“And I’ll tell you something else about my job.

“It is to be Prime Minister of the whole United Kingdom and that means uniting our country, answering at last the plea of the forgotten people and the left-behind towns by physically and literally renewing the ties that bind us together.

“So that with safer streets and better education and fantastic new road and rail infrastructure and full fibre broadband we level-up across Britain.

“With higher wages, a higher living wage, higher productivity, we close the opportunity gap giving millions of young people the chance to own their own homes.

“And giving business the confidence to invest across the UK.

“Because it is time we unleashed the productive power, not just of London and the South East, but of every corner of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

“The awesome foursome that are incarnated in that red, white and blue flag; who together are so much more than the sum of their parts and whose brand and political personality is admired and even loved around the world for our inventiveness, for our humour, for our universities, our scientists, our armed forces, our diplomacy.

“For the equalities on which we insist: whether race or gender or LGBT or the right of every girl in the world to 12 years of quality education.

“For the values we stand for around the world. Everyone knows the values that flag represents. It stands for freedom, and free speech and habeas corpus and the rule of law and above all it stands for democracy.

“And that is why we will come out of the EU on October 31. Because in the end Brexit was a fundamental decision by the British people that they wanted their laws made by people that they can elect and they can remove from office.

“And we must now respect that decision and create a new partnership with our European friends. As warm, as close, as affectionate as possible.

“And the first step is to repeat unequivocally our guarantee to the 3.2 million EU nationals now living and working among us.

“And I say directly to you: thank you, thank you for your contribution to our society, thank you for your patience and I can assure you that under this Government you will have the absolute certainty of the right to live and remain.

“And I say next to our friends in Ireland and in Brussels and around the EU: I am convinced we can do a deal without checks at the Irish border.

“Because we refuse under any circumstances to have such checks and yet without that anti-democratic backstop.

“And it is of course vital at the same time that we prepare for the remote possibility that Brussels refuses any further to negotiate and we are forced to come out with no deal.

“Not because we want that outcome, of course not, but because it is only common sense to prepare.

“And let me stress that there is a vital sense in which those preparations cannot be wasted.

“And that is because under any circumstances we will need to get ready at some point in the near future to come out of the EU customs union and out of regulatory control, fully determined at last to take advantage of Brexit.

“Because that is the course on which this country is now set.

“With high hearts and growing confidence we will now accelerate the work of getting ready.

“And the ports will be ready and the banks will be ready and the factories will be ready and business will be ready and the hospitals will be ready and our amazing food and farming sector will be ready and waiting to continue selling ever more not just here but around the world.

“And don’t forget that in the event of a no deal outcome we will have that extra lubrication of the £39 billion.

“And whatever deal we do, we will prepare this autumn for an economic package to boost British business and to lengthen this country’s lead as the number one destination in this continent for overseas investment.

“And to all those who continue to prophesy disaster I say yes there will be difficulties though I believe that with energy and application they will be far less serious than some have claimed.

“But if there is one thing that has really sapped the confidence of business over the last three years it is not the decisions we have taken, it is our refusal to take decisions.

“And to all those who say we cannot be ready, I say do not underestimate this country.

“Do not underestimate our powers of organisation and our determination because we know the enormous strengths of this economy – in life sciences, in tech, in academia, in music ,the arts, culture, financial services.

“It is here in Britain that we are using gene therapy for the first time to treat the most common form of blindness.

“Here in Britain that we are leading the world in battery technology that will help cut CO2 and tackle climate change and produce green jobs for the next generation.

“And as we prepare for a post-Brexit future it is time we look not at the risks but at the opportunities that are upon us.

“So let us begin work now to create free ports that will drive growth and thousands of high-skilled jobs in left-behind areas.

“Let’s start now to liberate the UK’s extraordinary bioscience sector from anti-genetic modification rules and let’s develop the blight resistant crops that will feed the world.

“Let’s get going now on our own position, navigation and timing satellite and earth observation systems.

“UK assets orbiting in space with all the long term strategic and commercial benefits for this country.

“Let’s change the tax rules to provide extra incentives to invest in capital and research.

“And let’s promote the welfare of animals that has always been so close to the hearts of the British people.

“And yes, let’s start now on those free trade deals because it is free trade that has done more than anything else to lift billions out of poverty.

“All this and more we can do now and only now, at this extraordinary moment in our history and after three years of unfounded self-doubt it is time to change the record, to recover our natural and historic role as an enterprising, outward-looking and truly global Britain, generous in temper and engaged with the world.

“No one in the last few centuries has succeeded in betting against the pluck and nerve and ambition of this country.

“They will not succeed today.

“We in this Government will work flat out to give this country the leadership it deserves and that work begins now.

“Thank you very much.”

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