The Tory government manages to f**k over the people coming to the rescue on snow day

Snow day
Support us and go ad-free

The Conservative government has managed to find a way to screw working people over even on a snow day.

Severe weather disruptions have made it difficult for people receiving social care to get the services they need. But instead of providing enough resources to ensure people are safe, Theresa May’s administration has simply left volunteers to pick up the pieces.

Unpaid labour saves the day

One such unpaid response team is the Bucks and Oxon 4X4 Response Group (BORG). BORG ensures people in Buckinghamshire receive essential care when there are weather disruptions.

It’s important to note that, even on normal days, people do shocking amounts of unpaid care work for the government. In 2014, for example, volunteers contributed care work worth around £56.9bn – three times the entire annual government budget for UK social care.

Rescue response during severe snow

On 1 February, the Met Office issued a severe weather warning for the south and south-east of England, along with parts of western Wales, Northern Ireland and some of northern Scotland. This is dangerous for people at the wrong end of cuts to social-care budgets that have left some services “on the brink of collapse”.

Snow days exacerbate the problem. And the further lack of government action forces unpaid samaritans, who already have other commitments, to help people survive. Simon Avery-Sutton, emergency planning liaison officer at the response unit BORG, said:

Our volunteers are a fantastic group who work with the Council regularly when the weather turns bad. A lot of us have older family members and the thought of someone going without essential care is a real incentive to get out where we can and help. We know that when there is bad weather, the frequency of need for customers doesn’t change. Care services, with their busy schedules, are seriously impacted and the 4×4 response for business continuity is vital.

Read on...

Support us and go ad-free

Gill Quinton, strategic director of communities, health and adult social care at Bucks County Council, added:

The ability to collaborate with the fab volunteers at BORG to make sure we get to these people cannot be underestimated.

Vulnerable residents going without a hot meal in freezing weather or not getting vital health services is not an option for us. Our care teams always go the extra mile contacting customers, making sure help and services reach them. My deep admiration and gratitude goes out to everyone who really digs in to help.


The government’s exploitation of unpaid carers and its cavalier attitude to those who need the services is not only dangerous but counterproductive too. Rather than saving money, it only shifts the responsibility on to relatives or friends who are then too tired or busy to work. This is one reason the UK is deep in a productivity crisis; because many people are too busy picking up the pieces for the government to be properly productive in the workplace.

Instead of relying on unpaid helpers, the government should have paid response teams to make sure people are safe on snow days. Snow impacts everyone, so a communal strategy makes sense.

Featured image via BBC/ YouTube

Support us and go ad-free

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us
  • Show Comments
    1. As these volunteeers are worth in service than 3x the entire UK social care responsibility for the government, they ought to have 3X the say on how health care is administrated.
      Where is their representation on the Political Board?
      They appear to have compassion, and don’t have the profile of the slave of old so what on earth is happening that these people have been left out of the decision making process.
      I’m sure they have good ideas on how else things could be done to save everyone grief.
      They must have some ideas or viewpoints people have never heard of , and I guess never will.

    Leave a Reply

    Join the conversation

    Please read our comment moderation policy here.