If Javid expects families to do all the work, social care is not being ‘fixed’

We shouldn’t always go first to the state. What kind of society would that be,” health secretary Sajid Javid asked the Conservative party conference this week. “Health and social care begins at home. It should be family first, then community, then the state.”

The idea that the British public need to be lectured into caring for their own family will be news to the more than 9 million people who are already unpaid carers for their loved ones. As it will to the additional 4.5 million people who have started caring unpaid since the start of the pandemic. This country’s reliance on family carers is so extreme that we even expect children to do it.

It is a brazen insult to these families to imply they need to do more. Many have been pushed into poverty as a result of giving care and are struggling with their mental or physical health. Countless others are racked by guilt because they can’t help their loved ones, either because they live too far away or are too old or disabled themselves to cope with caring demands.

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