Thursday 21 November, St Johns Church, St Johns Hill, Woodbridge
This popular pre-election event was attended by four of the five parliamentary candidates. The wide-ranging debate covered some of the most important national and local issues.
Here’s what Cameron had to say about the NHS and adult social care:
Of course, there is an inextricable link to adult social care and the NHS. We’ve seen £8 billion cut from adult social care over the last nine years which has had a direct impact on provision of that service. Then when you put that against 43,000 nurse vacancies in the NHS, and there are vacancies across the service, not having sufficient adult social care then puts immense pressure on our NHS. So Labour is committed to investing £26 billion in the NHS and in adult social care.
Of course, we should all have dignity at home. And just to give you a very quick example, if I’ve got a bit of time, we do a lot of community work as the Fire and Rescue Service and I’ve already spent some time, I’ve visited some of these houses to talk about fire safety. And I visited this lady who was really, really struggling, and she told me she that was in a position where she was struggling to pay for the bills, struggling to pay for heating and lighting. And she had some significant mental conditions which were just causing such immense pressure on her that she effectively was in a position where she couldn’t see the point in carrying on. And to have that kind of conversation is really, really upsetting, really disturbing, so I think it’s absolutely critical that we have proper investment in adult social care so we can provide dignity for everybody.
Q. What would you do to improve healthcare provision in this constituency?
One of Labour’s plans, particularly for adult social care, that we were just talking about, would be to raise the carer’s allowance and that would affect over a thousand carers in the Suffolk Coastal constituency. I think one of the things that we do need to do is, again going back to investment, we need cash in our NHS. It’s been starved of funding for so long (the commitment to build forty hospitals has been shown up as not true) but we need that commitment in investment so we can start building infrastructure to support our NHS. And also we can start addressing some of the issues about workers in the industry, both in adult social care and in the NHS. So one of the things which Labour will be committing to, also, is to reinstate the nurses’ bursary. One of the other things which will also have a direct impact, particularly on the adult social care side of things, is Labour will be looking to ban zero-hours contracts. And also to ensure people are paid a living wage because it is a disgrace in this country that we have people like nurses, like workers in adult social care who are now living off food banks, who are struggling to make ends meet. These are the people who look after us when we’re ill, when we’re vulnerable, when we’re at our weakest.
Q. What is the living wage?
Labour are offering £10 an hour.
(Transcribed from an audio recording)