A crunch meeting on social care reform between the most senior ministers in the Government that was due to take place on Tuesday has been pushed back, with proposals still unagreed.
Boris Johnson, the Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, the Chancellor, and Matt Hancock, the Health Secretary, were due to discuss finding a solution to spiralling social care costs. It has now been delayed.
It is almost two years since Mr Johnson said he had a “clear plan” to “fix the crisis in social care once and for all” outside Number 10 after becoming Prime Minister.
But the Treasury and Downing Street are still at loggerheads about what the proposals should be and how they should be funded, with no final decisions or announcements imminent.
Downing Street suggested cross-party talks on social care reforms will take place only once the proposals have been revealed, limiting the input of other parties early on.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesperson said at a press briefing: “When we set out our proposals, we will set out our path forward from that point.”
Sir Andrew Dilnot, the architect of Mr Johnson’s preferred plan for reform, said around £10 billion would be needed from the Government to fix the social care crisis.
His proposal has three parts: a cap on total lifetime care costs an individual can pay at about £50,000, a pay rise for social care staff and more money for the system as a whole.
How social care reform has been pushed back again… and again
Sir Andrew told Today on BBC Radio 4: “We need to fund the means-tested system properly; we need to do something about the workforce; and we need to do something for the population as a whole that allows us to pool the risk.
“The very first thing we must do is make sure there’s enough money going into the means-tested system, which isn’t the case at the moment.”
Sir Andrew said the Government should add a cap to “effectively introduce social insurance for social care for the whole population”.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesperson also acknowledged frustration at the delay: “Reforming and coming up with a long-term solution to social care has been a challenge for many years, we absolutely recognise that.
“The Prime Minister remains completely committed to coming out with a long-term solution for social care.
“In that interim, we have provided additional billions in funding to the social care system, including throughout this pandemic, so they can continue to provide care.”