Conservatives pledge extra cash for social care

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said that the Conservatives are pledging an extra £1 billion per year for social care in England over the next five years.

If they win the election, Hancock says that the Tory funding would ‘stabilise’ the system and help councils meet rising demand, having already promised an extra £1 billion next year.

Hancock wrote in a Daily Mail article that ‘cross-party consensus’ was needed on a long-term plan, saying that social care was ‘too important to be politicised’ and that parties should work on new proposals ‘as soon as possible’ after the election.

Former Prime Minister Theresa May decided to drop her plans to change the sisal care system after a backlash at the 2017 General Election, following Tory proposals to make people receiving care at home liable for the full costs if they are worth at least £100,000. The plans were dropped after the Conservatives failed to win an overall majority.

Hancock has now said that his party would work with other parties to decide reforms that ‘command the widest possible support’, adding that ‘no one needing care will have to sell their home to pay for it’.  

Jeremy Hughes, chief executive at Alzheimer’s Society, said: “While it’s good to see social care being rightly recognised by all parties as a key election issue, what we need to see are detailed plans to fix dementia care for hundreds of thousands of families across the country. Too many vulnerable people are having to sell homes, or miss our completely on critical care because of the price tag. £1 billion a year on its own would only stave off utter collapse, it’s nowhere near enough.

“Whoever is next in government has to take the lead, and act decisively to resolve the funding of social care, and improve the quality of support people get. Cross party consensus, while laudable, must not be as an excuse for more dither and delay.”

Labour is promising free personal care in England for over-65s most in need of it, saying that their  pledge, costing an estimated £6 billion a year, will double the number of those not having to pay.

The Green Party has made the same pledge, promising to spend an extra £4.5 billion a year to equalise the two systems, while the Liberal Democrats are proposing to spend an extra £7 billion a year on the NHS and social care services, funded by raising income tax rates by one per cent.

The SNP has promised to scrap non-residential social care charges for all if it wins the Scottish Parliament election in 2021.