August 19, 2019 Legal

Operation Yellowhammer and social care

Comment from Royds Withy King

Operation Yellowhammer – the leaked Government document on the impact of a no deal Brexit – makes grim reading for the adult social care sector.
The dossier recognises the fragility of care providers and warns that an increase in inflation following a no deal Brexit is likely to push providers into administration within two to three months, together with staff shortages and further problems caused by transport disruption, severe weather and illness.
Mei-Ling Huang, a Partner is the Social Care team at the law firm Royds Withy King comments.
“The Government’s assessment of social care following a no deal Brexit will not surprise those working in the sector, yet it is alarming to read this stark picture in official government documents.
“The Government has not offered any suggestions to address this impending crisis apart from empty political rhetoric. Prime Minister Johnson’s promise to look to the ‘spirit of cross-party agreement’ to bring forward proposals will not deliver much needed staff or funding.
“Our own research with the Care Association Alliance in March this year points to the need for the sector to recruit 128,000 people every year. Currently, it is managing to attract just 20,000. And given that 33% of care sector nurses are recruited from within the EU – rising to 68% in London – the sector needs close ties with Europe.”
Some sensible suggestions are being put forward by the industry, including a VAT exemption for the sector to ease cost pressures. Royds Withy King also recommends that social care staff are recognised as key workers with immigration restrictions eased.
Mei-Ling adds: “The demand for social care is increasing at a time when spending cuts are digging ever harder. Staff costs are rising at a time when immigration controls are being tightened yet our politicians still look to dodge the serious debate that is needed.
“We understand that there are many pressing priorities for the Prime Minister but delivering a basic level of care for the most vulnerable in a civilised society must be top of that list.”

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