The Conservatives plan to build cross-party consensus to help solve issues in social care if it stays in power.
Setting out its vision yesterday (Sunday 24 November), the party’s manifesto said it would help stabilise the system with an additional £1bn each year of the next parliament, beginning in April 2020.
The manifesto said: ‘We must build the same level of consensus on social care as we have already built on the NHS.
‘So we will build a cross-party consensus to bring forward an answer that solves the problem, commands the widest possible support, and stands the test of time. That consensus will consider a range of options but one condition we do make is that nobody needing care should be forced to sell their home to pay for it.’
The party will extend the entitlement to leave for unpaid carers to one week.
It also plans to double research funding into dementia, providing an extra £83m a year, and £74m over three years for additional capacity in community care settings for those with learning disabilities and autism.
At the launch of the manifesto Prime Minister Boris Johnson pledged 50,000 more nurses and their bursaries and 50 million more GP surgery appointments as part of proposals.
Commenting, Richard Murray, The King’s Fund chief executive, said: ‘The additional £1bn to give a short-term boost to social care services for both adults and children is not enough to meet rising demand for care while maintaining the current quality and accessibility of services.
‘Despite making a similar pledge to bring forward reform in 2017, social care funding has once again been put back in the too difficult box. Viewing the debate only in terms of older people not having to sell their homes is a disappointingly narrow framing of the problems in social care, and cross-party talks without a concrete proposal are unlikely to deliver meaningful reform.
‘This is not only a devastating blow for the people and their families who rely on a currently failing system. Social care is also a major concern for voters and a continually ailing system will also impact on the finances, performance and quality of care in the NHS.’
Michael Voges, ARCO executive director, added: ‘ARCO welcomes the recognition in the Conservative Party manifesto of the important of building a consensus on social care and to continuing to reform leasehold.
‘One area where there is already cross-party consensus is on the role which retirement communities can play in tackling the housing and care crises for older people.
‘A clear statement of support for the growth of our sector early in the next Parliament will go a long way to unleashing Britain’s potential in this area.’