“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,
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
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
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.