I hope that everyone is enjoying the Christmas break. Last week was the state opening of the new Parliament with the Queens Speech. There was too much to cover here so I will focus on just one area which is one of the biggest long-term challenges we face as a country. Putting social care on a sustainable footing needs a long-term solution and I am very pleased the new Conservative Government is determined to address this.
I have long argued that a cross-party agreement is needed on how Adult Social Care is funded, because we need a system that lasts through successive governments and that has the politics taken out of it. Unfortunately, when a potential solution was put forward in 2017 ahead of the general election that year, Labour played politics and branded it a ‘dementia tax’, leading to it being withdrawn. Regardless of the merits or otherwise of that policy, it showed to me that everyone needs to be grown-up when discussing this subject and that a genuine cross-party consensus needs to be reached.
To start with, the Conservative Government is providing Councils with an additional £1 billion for adults and children’s social care in every year of this Parliament. In addition, they will consult on a 2% precept that will enable Councils to access a further £500 million for adult social care for 2020-21. This funding will support local authorities to meet rising demand and continue to stabilise the social care system, helping to pay for more social care staff.
The Government will urgently seek a cross-party consensus in order to bring forward the necessary proposals for long-term social care reform. In doing so, the Government has stated that nobody needing care will be forced to sell their home to pay for it.
Over the next ten years, it is expected that there will be 1.5 million more over 75s. We have to find a way of providing the care many will need and a sustainable way to pay for it. I hope that 2020 will be the year we can all agree on the way forward.
Councillor Duncan Crow, Leader of Crawey Borough Council Conservative Group
25th December 2019