"We'll have the best policies and laws in Europe on social care, stuck onto an out-dated, unsustainable, ineffective funding system." One step forwards but two steps back.
The promise of a single statute (thereby putting an end to decades of hotch-potch legislation) is significant indeed, as is the commitment to provide a single authoritative source of information (although we know people need more than the information: advice, assistance, advocacy). And there is a commitment to supporting a better evidence base via a 'national library' from 2013. All this is very good.
It is barely credible that it has taken one year for all three parties to say they broadly agree with the #Dilnot principles for care funding in England. Instead of showing political bravery and foresight, the government has put a few more sticking plasters on the growing #carecrisis – just as we saw under successive Labour administrations which also failed to grasp the urgency of reform.
Today's proposal in the Progress Report to extend current practice on deferred payments and make it universal is not a 'watershed' announcement. It is a form of public equity release which we recommended in 2006, and exists already across the country. It can ease pressures for some older home owners, but I wouldn’t underestimate the challenge of making this more widely available and of negotiating the terms with local authorities already strapped for cash. It is a helpful measure, but not new, and no substitute for deciding on #Dilnot.
Without real reform, we’ll have the best policies and laws in Europe on social care, stuck onto an out-dated, unsustainable, ineffective funding system. What the Treasury above all needs to grasp is that the current system is chronically counter-productive. It stops us all from planning, whatever our age or support needs, whatever our means. It piles pressure on the NHS and other services, creates crisis and uncertainty, and carries a high human cost.
This is not the way forward.