Keir Starmer should commit Labour to setting up a National Care Service, Andy Burnham urged today.

The Greater Manchester Metro Mayor told activists to pile pressure on the party leader to make the policy a key manifesto pledge at the next election.

Speaking at the Daily Mirror’s Real Britain fringe, he told grassroots members: “I’m just going to put this out there - shall we resolve today that we need to use this conference to get the party to commit to a National Care Service; social care on NHS terms.

“If we had that and we had staff paid properly, rather than poverty pay to look after other people’s relatives, which is the current reality, we would have people equipped properly doing that incredible job of social care.

“This party should be committing to social care on NHS terms so we can build as one system for the 21st Century.
“I just plead with you all to use your voice and your influence this week to say to the party that is where Labour should be, coming out of this pandemic.

“It’s a policy the public would support.”

Former Health Secretary Mr Burnham was speaking as a panel ramped up calls for a speeded-up public inquiry into the coronavirus crisis.

Andy Burnham, the Mirror's Kevin Maguire and other panellists at the Real Britain fringe (

Image:

Ian Vogler / Daily Mirror)

Boris Johnson has said a probe will begin next spring.

Two-time Labour leadership hopeful Mr Burnham said it will reveal the need for British society to be "completely rewired".

He believed the pandemic exposed UK inequality, with some people able to stay at home working over Zoom while others were forced to work in unsafe environments without vital personal protective equipment.

Mr Burnham said the inquiry "will reveal how our country is run" and show "some of the worst traits of that Whitehall and Westminster system".

He said: "It will tell you about local government being completely disregarded, ridden roughshod over.

"It will tell you about the north of England crying out for help, being absolutely brushed aside.

"It will tell you all the things that are wrong with the way this country is run."

He added: "Britain needs to be completely rewired, there needs to be much more power taken out of Westminster and Whitehall and given to people at the local level, so that the pandemic response could have been run properly from that local level."

Opening the fringe event, Mirror Associate Editor Kevin Maguire said the Government was guilty of “grievous mistakes” during the crisis.

He added: “Lessons weren’t learned.”

Dr Sonia Adesara at the fringe (

Image:

Ian Vogler / Daily Mirror)

Real Britain columnist Ros Wynne-Jones said: “We know that the Government wants to move on from the pandemic.

“Of course they do - they don’t want to dwell on mistake after mistake that they have made.

“No wonder it is pushing this vague inquiry it has promised so far into the future that it’s barely visible.”

The inquiry heard from two people whose fathers died from coronavirus.

Jaguar Land Rover worker Matt Fowler told how his dad Ian died in the first wave.

“I miss my dad incredibly, he was my hero,” said Matt, the founder of the Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice group.

“Though the Prime Minister has committed to a statutory inquiry, after a lot of pressure from our group, it seems that it will be pushed further down, postponing the chance to implement the lessons learned until it’s inevitably too late.”

Trainee teacher Hannah Brady, who spoke to the Mirror in April about the need for a public inquiry, hoped the inquiry would investigate “key worker deaths, late lockdowns, consistent lack of border controls, PPE shortages U-turns in policy, blanket DNR (do not resuscitate) orders and the North-South divide.”

Her father Shaun died from Covid last year.

Addressing the ‘Covid Justice - The Time is Now’ fringe, Unite union assistant general secretary Steve Turner said: “Let’s get this thing moving because if it doesn't the inertia of the State will kick in.”

Blasting the Government's lack of preparedness and “litany of mistakes that were made at the start of the pandemic”. Dr Sonia Adesara, who co-chairs the Young Medical Women International Association, claimed: “The Government’s response to this pandmeic has been reckless and careless.”

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