VODG Comments on the Liberal Democrat Manifesto 2024

VODG comments on the Liberal Democrat Manifesto and calls for social care to be a key campaigning issue as we approach Election Day.

10 Jun 2024
by Rhidian Hughes

The Liberal Democrats have published their manifesto, including welcome commitments to social care including:

  • Introduce free personal care based on the model introduced by the Liberal Democrats in government in Scotland in 2002, so that provision is based on need, not ability to pay.
  • Create a social care workforce plan, establish a Royal College of Care Workers to improve recognition and career progression, and introduce a higher Carer’s Minimum Wage.
  • Establish a cross-party commission to forge a long-term agreement on sustainable funding for social care.
  • Give unpaid carers a fair deal so they get the support they so desperately need, including paid carer’s leave and a statutory guarantee of regular respite breaks.
  • Develop a digital strategy to enable care users to live tech-enabled lives.
  • Creating a National Care Agency to set national minimum standards of care
  • Support people to age well by establishing a commissioner for older people and ageing
  • Support children in kinship caee and their family carers by introducing a stator definition
  • Ending inappropriate and costly inpatient placements for people with learning disabilities and autism
  • Modernising the Mental Health Act to strengthen people’s rights

In response to the publication of the Liberal Democrat Manifesto, Dr Rhidian Hughes Chief Executive of the Voluntary Organisations Disability Group (VODG) says: 

‘Since the early stages of the election campaign, the Liberal Democrat commitment to people who draw on essential care and support services has been welcome. With this, the first manifesto launched, we hope social care will be key election campaigning ground for all parties.

‘Commitments to the social care workforce, ending inappropriate inpatient placements for people with a learning disability and autistic people, alongside a plan to reach a cross-party approach to care, would all be positive steps forward. 

'Finding a long term and sustainable solution to the provision of social care so that disabled people of all ages can access the support they need, is a critical challenge for the next government, and one that must be prioritised in both the short and long term. 

‘The vast majority of disabled people rely on the state to fund their care and support, yet successive governments have failed to meet the funding challenges for this group. All too often attention has focused on whether care costs are paid for by individuals through private funds and selling family homes. This has ignored the funding requirements for many disabled people who will not have private funds. Adhoc grants and one year funding settlements continue to fall far short of the sustainable funding needed, and increasingly charities supporting disabled children, young people and adults are left in an impossible situation, with an unwavering commitment to deliver services but with operating costs that outstrip commissioned fee rates.

'Disabled people, their families and carers deserve to live the lives they choose, with the support they rely on, but that’s only going to be a reality if there is cross-party, long-term support and funding for public services and the charities they commission.’

VODG's calls to the next government include the ask, echoed in the manifesto, to end inappropriate inpatient placements for people with a learning disability and autistic people.