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speaking notes from full council – Fairness, Empowerment, Investment

I experimented a bit last night by preparing speaking notes ahead of the meeting, usually I make it up as I go along.  I did go a bit off script when delivering it, as I had to respond to the debate (and that's more fun) but for what it's worth here is what I had noted down:
There are serious times ahead for our town.

In Adult Social Care we need a government that is prepared to lead in a radical and visionary way but also willing to enable councils and communities to act: to narrow the gaps and enable people to thrive.


The Tories and Libdems in government don’t seem to be interested in that. 


In every discussion I have about Care Act there is an elephant in the room:  we all know that the government is abdicating its responsibility to properly fund and reform the system in health and social care.


If you are serious about being in politics to change lives – not just to hold on to office – you plan for the future, you face up to the big questions and think about the coming decades.


Instead the Tories are simply watching the clock run down. They appear to have no vision for adult social care in 2 years let alone 20 years. 


As responsible Labuor councillors we will be forced into making more and more difficult decisions as a result of their lack of vision and planning.

As Cllr Hoskin has said the NHS is facing a threat to it’s existence nationally and is under pressure locally – that impacts us all especially those of us who need adult social care services or may do in the future.


He’s right that Andy Burnham’s plan to save the NHS as well as enable communities, councils and the health service to work together is one that Reading is well placed to benefit from.


And even in the short term we do still have choices.  Reading Labour will not abandon our determination to build a better Reading


We will act on the broken home care market, ensuring fair treatment of service users – only possible through fair treatment of care workers:

a living wage,

no abuse of zero hours,

proper training

and care based on need not the clock:

We’ll be keeping our promise on the UNISON ethical care charter. 


We will also empower people using services benefiting from their expertise and wisdom.

The real experts on our services are the users of services and carers. 

The newly launched User panel will change how adult social care in this town works.

Users and carers will be involved in everything from shaping the market position statement which is a strategic level document to supporting recruitment.

 And we will build in this town.

Investment in new accommodation designed for older people and disabled people – whether extra care, nursing or supported living, and whether that’s through council housing or with partners: will create wonderful new homes that a new generation of people can live and thrive in.


Fairness, empowerment, investment.  These are Reading values and they are Labour’s values too.


We can make sure adult social care will play an important role in ensuring that everyone this town can thrive.


But in the short term everything we do will have to be done in spite of a government out of energy, out of vision and very soon out of time.

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