Costs of backing green paper could deter government from legislating

The government may not legislate on the adult green paper’s
proposals because of costs, Community Care has

A source close to the Department of Health has claimed the
government is “anxious about legislating on something it is not
able to afford”.

But the source added the government was likely to publish a
stand-alone adult social care white paper, challenging speculation
this would not happen.

The green paper claimed its proposals were cost-neutral, but this
assumption has faced a barrage of criticism from across the

Shortly after taking up his post last month, care services minister
Liam Byrne promised to argue for more resources in next year’s
spending review to implement the reforms.

However, it appears the government seems unwilling to commit itself
to significantly increasing resources.

The concerns follow a King’s Fund report this week, which gives a
damning critique of the “poor” state of care services for older
people and urges a significant increase in funding.

It says local authorities and primary care trusts are struggling to
meet “all but the highest levels of need” and that increasing
numbers of people would have to pay for their own care in the
future because of current means-test thresholds.

It urges the government to cover care costs “in part or in full”
and adds: “We are not convinced that existing funding will be
sufficient to implement the ambitious proposals set out in the
green paper.”

Janice Robinson, senior adviser in health and social care at the
King’s Fund, said: “If the government is going to change adult
social care they need to see it is not enough just to empower
services users through individual budgets and direct payments. They
need to develop and invest in the market.”

Robinson said the think-tank’s review of funding for older people,
headed by Sir Derek Wanless, would build on the report and look in
more detail at the “real costs” of the green paper’s

She added that it would “make sense” for any white paper to come
out after the Wanless review, expected early next year, to help
influence decisions in the run-up to next summer’s spending


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