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Social work is absent from Conservative Party manifesto

No mention of social work was included in the Conservative party manifesto published earlier this week. Despite 52 references to the word ‘social’ and a focus on the concept of the ‘Big Society’, the document lacked any specific reference to the social work profession or social work role.

The manifesto was published days after BASW called for a ‘Social Work Election’ with a call for social work to be prioritised, along with health and education, and protected from cuts to services.

The omission comes despite the party having made significant references to the profession in recent years, including the publication of a document in 2007, No More Blame Game, which made 14 recommendations on the future of children’s social work. The document included a call for the appointment of a chief social worker to work across government.

In its manifesto, published on Tuesday, the party said it would devolve control over health budgets so people have more control over their health needs. ‘For people with a chronic illness or a long-term condition, we will provide access to a single budget that combines health and social care funding which they can tailor to their own needs,’ the document states.

It goes on to outline how the party ‘rejects Labour’s plans for a compulsory ‘death tax’ on everyone to pay for social care regardless of their needs’ and said they wanted to create a system based on choice.

The party said it would ‘allow’ anyone to protect their home from being sold to pay for the cost of residential care through a one-off insurance premium which it suggests may be around £8,000.

‘We will support older people to live independently at home and have access to the personal care they need,’ the manifesto states. ‘We will work to design a system where people can top up their premium – also voluntarily – to cover the costs of receiving care in their own home.’

The party also pledged increased access to ‘talking therapies’.

Like the Liberal Democrat Party, the Conservative Party promised to support the UK’s one million carers and would do this by improving access to respite care and providing direct payments to help with care needs.

The Tories did commit to the network of Sure Start centres but said it would take the system back to concentrating on its original early intervention approach and to help the most disadvantaged groups, who they said were not benefiting from the scheme as well as they should be.

On education, the party said its school reform programme was part of its anti-poverty strategy. The party stated that one of its first tasks would be to create academy schools in the most deprived areas of the country, a policy the Labour government has also embraced. These would be ‘beacons of excellence’ in areas where school standards are low.

In addition, a ‘pupil premium’ would be introduced, should the Conservative Party be elected into government on 6 May at the General Election, giving extra funding to children from disadvantaged backgrounds.

The party would halt the ‘ideologically-driven’ plans to close special schools. ‘We will end the bias towards the inclusion of children with special needs in mainstream schools,’ the document added.

Link to Conservative manifesto

Link to story on Labour manifesto

Link to story on BASW’s manifesto