CAROLINE ANSELL MP: Social care reform is long overdue

I voted for the Government’s 1.25 per cent rise in National Insurance on Wednesday to help pay for social care and to support the NHS in cutting big waiting lists brought on by the pandemic.

Thursday, 9th September 2021, 1:57 pm

There has been quite a bit of comment on the move, which I think shows the Prime Minister has the courage to step forward when the circumstances dictate.

And these are some circumstances. We have had to deal with a global pandemic and the biggest challenge this country has faced in peacetime. NHS waiting lists are long and people are not getting the treatment they usually would due to cancelled operations and appointments

Similarly, social care in this country is in crisis and reform of how it is paid for has been kicked down the road for decades. It was Tony Blair who vowed to deal with this problem back in the last century. Boris Johnson should get credit for now doing so.

I accept there are a broad range of views and the usual politics around it. Residents I have spoken to and polls show general support for this move and there will be further work on the proposal as it progresses through Parliament.

It has long been an injustice that people needing care could face the loss of their home, their possessions and their ability to pass on anything to their children.

The spirit of our work on the environment is very much focussed on future generations too. Last week, I met up with Greenpeace to talk about its Operation Ocean Witness project, which has spent the summer off the Sussex coast looking at industrial fishing practices.

I certainly share concerns for the marine environment and progress is being made.

Beachy Head East is now a Marine Conservation Zone – something I campaigned for five years ago. Now, we need to make that really count. A priority for me is to promote our local fishermen and the new Quayside development at Sovereign Harbour will really put them on the map.

But without the vitality of marine ecosystems there is no future, so action on damaging fishing practices and quotas are key.

Going forward, I very much hope to work with Greenpeace and other groups to make sure we do protect and conserve our marine life here off the coast of Eastbourne, around the UK and in other areas internationally where we can.

I spent time with traders and residents around Beatty Road last week too. There’s been a great deal of upset and trouble with changes made by the car park’s new owners; today, a meeting negotiated by Councillor Penny Di Cara will take place to try to broker a better way forward.

This parade is such an important part of everyday life for its local residents and the car park is vital to the livelihoods of traders here.

And a huge well done to Kingsmere Community Association for their Macmillan fundraising coffee morning last Saturday, and top baker Ashton! It was fantastic to be with you.