Care White Paper: Government told not to shirk from reform

Twenty three charities have urged ministers to ensure the forthcoming care White Paper contains explicit pledges to introduce a new, long-term funding settlement, amid reports that the government will avoid committing itself.

It was reported in yesterday’s Guardian that the White Paper, which is expected within the next week, would not include plans to introduce a compulsory levy for older people or their estates to fund care – dubbed a “death tax” by the Conservatives – to take the sting out of the issue during the election.

The “death tax” accusation – which came despite the government never having backed a compulsory levy explicitly – sparked a furious row between the parties that has not abated and dashed any prospects of cross-party consensus being forged on care funding reform for the foreseeable future.


However, in a joint statement, the sixteen charities said: “Reports suggest that the government may be losing confidence about the reform of the care system in the light of cross-party pre-election point scoring.  This is a disappointing prospect given that we are so close to turning the radical rethink of the care system into reality.

“We urge the government not to walk away from this once in a lifetime opportunity.  The White Paper must be published now – with comprehensive, properly funded, long-term solutions.”

The statement backed a care system “free at the point of need and properly funded” – a condition that would be met by the compulsory levy mooted by the government or increases in general taxation to fund care.

The signatories were Age Concern/Help the Aged, Alzheimer’s Society, Carers UK, Centre for Policy on Ageing, Contact a Family, Counsel and Care, Crossroads Care, Huntingdon’s Disease Association, Mencap, MS Society, National Autistic Society, National Care Forum, National Centre for Independent Living, Parkinson’s Disease Society, Princess Royal Trust for Carers, RADAR, Relatives & Residents Association, RNIB, Sense, Shaping Our Lives, Sue Ryder Care, United Response and WRVS.

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