So where’s Labour’s commitment to “in-house” home care gone then?
Bristol Labour Party’s cheerleaders at The Evening Cancer and the T&G might want to celebrate a popular victory for the people but Peter Hammond’s recent outbursts in The Cancer on the future of home care raise far more questions than they answer.
“I am prepared to be very clear on this issue,” said Hammond, “The proposals for privatisation that were put forward by the Liberal Democrats in March have been stopped. The second stage of the process has also been stopped.”
All well and good. But what next? There’s plenty of warm words and vague promises from Hammond: “What we will be doing is going back and consulting with users and workers and looking at how we can improve the service and increase levels of service. This will be done with the active involvement of the home care workforce and the users”
This is all very nice but he’s failed to provide even a vague outline of what his intentions for the service really are; he’s failed to rule out further privatisation of the service by his own party; he’s failed to commit to an “in-house” service and he’s failed to explain where he intends to get the money from to “improve the service and increase levels of service” in a way compatible with Labour’s election promises.
In something of a first – even for the Bristol Labour Party – Hammond has in fact announced an uncosted non-plan! This type of nonsense might send the imbeciles down at The Cancer – who seem to have given up on analysis and objectivity when it comes to the home care service – and Hammond’s friends at the T&G into raptures but it’s ringing alarm bells among those a little more aware of the financial realities of social service provision under New Labour.
Hammond wandering around the social services department with his notepad and pen having an open-ended discussion with home care staff and users and drawing up a crazed wish-list does not constitute a plan. Neither is it a realistic approach for very long given tight social services budgets generally across the country and particularly in Bristol, still supposedly the subject of a social services financial recovery plan after chaos in the department just two years ago.
So what is the real plan Peter? Are you overspending any budgets while you devise it? And who’s going to pick up the tab?
Last time round it was your day care users…