The Labour Party’s new leader Ed Miliband backs the creation of a national care service to provide social care free at the point of need for older and disabled people.
Miliband affirmed his commitment yesterday following his election as leader.
He backed the policy in his leadership campaign, in line with a commitment made in Labour’s 2010 general election manifesto, which he wrote.
“That we should, in the 21st century, still live in a country where people are written off not because they are too frail but because they are too old is a scandal,” Miliband said in a statement to the Socialist Health Association during the campaign.
“We need a properly funded national care service, as we set out in our manifesto, at the heart of our plans for a fairer society in which everyone who is able to is able to contribute and make the most of their talents.”
The policy is most associated with shadow health secretary Andy Burnham, one of the defeated leadership candidates. Burnham has indicated that he wants to stay on as shadow health secretary though this will depend on the forthcoming shadow cabinet election and how Miliband wants to shape his team.
Miliband’s election was welcomed by the main public sector unions, whose members’ votes were crucial in ensuring his victory.
“As a priority, Ed must re-connect with Labour’s lost voters, including public sector workers, many of whom have been turned off in the past because they believed that Labour had deserted them,” said Unison general secretary Dave Prentis.
He added: “Under Ed’s leadership, Labour must offer an alternative economic strategy, promoting growth and recovery, together with fairness. This means protecting the poor, the sick and the vulnerable from the fall-out of this banker’s recession.
Protecting public services, and defending them against sweeping privatisation, must be central to this vision of a fairer society.”
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