Age Concern and Help the Aged has scored a coup by persuading health secretary Andy Burnham and Tory shadow health secretary Andrew Lansley to share a platform for a care summit.
The charity has joined forces with Channel 4 News to hold the summit next Wednesday (10 March) involving the three main political parties to explore and debate reform of the care and support system.
This is a step further than the government managed for its own social care conference last month, which was boycotted by Lansley after the row over Tory claims that Labour intended to impose a “£20,000 death tax” to fund care.
The Age Concern and Help the Aged summit, which is exclusive to Channel 4, will be held in Millbank and be chaired by Channel 4’s Jon Snow.
The politicians will offer their thoughts on the way ahead and hear from older care users, their families and experts.
Burnham invited both his political opponents – Lansley and the Lib Dems’ Norman Lamb – to last month’s conference, along with stakeholders, in an attempt to defuse the “death tax” row and agree a way forward on funding reform.
The Tories refused to attend because Burnham would not rule out introducing a compulsory inheritance levy to pay for care.