Prime Minister Theresa May is championing the needs of the so-called "just about managing" or JAMs, those people who are only just making ends meet, who are simply getting by and who qualify for little or no additional support from the state. It is understood that Mrs May has urged the Chancellor to make sure that Wednesday’s Autumn Statement includes measures designed to help such people, giving them more security and enabling them to succeed.
This is an admirable ambition, but I hope it doesn’t just end there.
The term could equally apply to those with care needs currently not being met limiting what they can and can’t do and those struggling to provide care to a loved one. We hope that the needs of these people will be taken into account too.
It could also apply to the adult social care system itself, which is facing ever more demand for services against a backdrop of limited resources and increasing cost pressures and, as a result, is close to breaking point. The challenges are well known, as is the impact they are having. In the last month, the Local Government Ombudsman reported an increase in complaints about councils failing to provide good quality and appropriate care for the elderly and disabled, whilst the Local Government Association warned that adult social care will see a £1.25 billion funding gap, over the next decade.
Thinking about all of this brings to mind the expression “Jam tomorrow”, which refers to something elusive, something that you want and have been promised but that you never quite get: an unfulfilled promise. Unfulfilled promise is something that we at ubu feel very strongly about addressing. We work with those we support to ensure that they can do more than “just manage”, we want them to thrive; to both fulfil and exceed their potential.
Giving a person living with a disability or long term condition a little extra, targeted care and support – designed around their unique needs – can make all the difference. It can help them to develop the skills and confidence they need to succeed, which can be extremely empowering. Ultimately, it can deliver tangible benefits for the wider society and economy, for example supporting someone to do learn new skills such as cooking giving them more independence, helping someone to find a job or voluntary role or enabling a family carer to go back to work.
A well-funded, effective adult social care system that can deliver such support should therefore be a crucial part of the Prime Minister’s efforts to help the “just about managing”. That’s why we hope that Wednesday’s Autumn Statement will recognise the importance of care and support services and deliver a much needed boost for adult social care.