Ed Balls will move into a care home in a bid to shine a light on the social care “crisis”.
The former shadow chancellor, whose mother Carolyn has dementia and recently moved into residential care, will spend time at Saint Cecilia’s, a mid-sized facility in Scarborough, as part of a two-part BBC Two documentary.
The programme, which has the working title Ed Balls: Care in Crisis, will explore the challenges the sector faced before the coronavirus pandemic and the ways in which it has adapted since.
Balls will live and work alongside staff and residents and hear the stories of families, many of whom have been unable to see loved ones due to Covid-19 restrictions.
Later he will sit down with local government and Whitehall representatives to discuss what he has seen and detail possible reforms.
Balls, 54, said: “The crisis in social care is deepening, and we need to work together to sort it now.
“Because my mum has dementia and lives in a care home, I thought I knew what happened in them, but as I started to dig deeper into the realities of the issues that care workers face daily, I realised I’ve only ever scratched the surface.
“Covid exposed and accelerated a long-term decline in this country’s provision for adult social care, but it’s also given us a chance to do something about it.
“It’s for our parents now and our children’s futures that we must take this chance to understand more about what’s needed and do something before it’s all too late.”
Patrick Holland, BBC director of factual, arts and classical music television, said: “Adult social care is one of the most important issues facing us as a society.
“How we care for our most vulnerable is a question that transcends party politics, asking us to deeply examine our values, priorities and hopes as a society.
“Ed’s personal and professional experience puts him in a unique position to explore the factors at work in this most complex and urgent of public service debates.”
Colin Barr, executive producer, said: “There couldn’t be a more pressing time to examine the crisis in elderly care, and there couldn’t be a better person to do it with, than Ed.
“His willingness to immerse fully and explore with empathy, is what makes him unique.
“I know this subject is particularly close to his heart and he’ll pour everything into understanding the challenges facing staff, residents and families as we emerge from Covid.”