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Adding it all up...

Posted Jun 07 2010 2:35am

“My Government will establish a commission on a sustainable structure of funding for long-term care.”

The new coalition government says that urgent reform of the social care system is needed to provide more control to individuals and their carers, and to ease the cost burden that they and their families face – and that this is one of the biggest challenges faced by society today. 

On this last point, they’re not kidding.

They plan to establish an independent commission to consider how “responsible and sustainable funding for long-term care” can be ensured, along with a “fair partnership between the state and the individual, which takes into account the vital role of families and carers”.  The commission is expected to report within a year.

They also say, “Government will also take decisive steps to accelerate the pace of reform so that older people and disabled people get the care they need and have more choice and control over how their needs are met, ensuring that:

  • services are personalised to individual needs, with personal budgets offered by all councils giving people choice and control over how their needs are met;
  • preventative support is given to people when they most need it, such as after discharge from hospital, with health and social care working together to help people stay independent at home;
  • carers are helped to provide care and support for friends and family members, with direct payments and other support for their own needs as well as those they care for.”

The question is, how? New Care Services Minister Paul Burstow has got his work cut out to fill the black hole in funding and it’s difficult not to be just a little bit gloomy about the prospects for the oldest old, given today’s statement by Prime Minister David Cameron.

His premise is that without tackling the deficit, confidence in the British economy will take a hit which could risk pushing up interest rates and increasingly taxes will be used to pay interest on the national debt, rather than being spent on public services.

According to BBC News , Mr Cameron will say decisions are needed with "enormous implications" which cannot be ducked, or got wrong ­– who will be the judge of that, I wonder – adding: "I want this government to carry out Britain's unavoidable deficit reduction plan in a way that strengthens and unites the country."

He will say the government wants a "process to engage and involve the whole country in the difficult decisions that will have to be taken".

OK. But how? I guess this might mean the Coalition’s version of focus groups. What a pity they don’t say.

Mr Cameron has already told the Sunday Times there was a "serious problem" with Labour's forecast of 3% growth in 2011, indicating that there could be cuts to "welfare bills", public sector pay and "the bureaucracy that has built up over the past decade".

Hmm... slight conflict of interests here perhaps? I wish them all the best of course, but somehow I can’t quite see how the sums will add up right – and they may not be self-correcting either.

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