The government was today urged not to delay proposed reforms to adult social care, amid concerns that the Dilnot commission’s plans may be “kicked into the long grass”.
Charities warned that delaying the planned White Paper beyond next Easter would be indefensible, while the Labour Party called for a clear “timetable” towards reform.
Shadow care services minister Emily Thornberry described today’s Dilnot proposals as “an important stepping stone” that “we’ve got to get a move on with”.
The party also repeated its offer of high-level talks between the three party leaders.
“We must have a timetable. We’ve got to move on this. We must have leadership from the prime minister on this,” she said.
Michelle Mitchell, Age UK’s charity director, said: “The government now needs to act on Andrew Dilnot’s proposals and follow the commission’s ambitious but achievable timetable of a White Paper by the spring. Delay beyond Easter would be indefensible.”
The United Kingdom Home Care Association had the same message. Chief executive Bridget Warr said: “We need firm leadership from the coalition government and consensus across the political parties to ensure that successive governments commit to the decisions made. What we mustn’t have is any attempt to kick the proposals into the long grass because of short-term financial and political implications.”
Commission chair Andrew Dilnot said the precise date for implementation was not that important, but he is convinced something will happen.
“All political parties, stakeholder communities want to see something done. Of course at one level it would be lovely if on the day of our report the leaders of all three political parties said, ‘yes we must do this’. “But that would extremely unlikely probably naive. It seems entirely appropriate there should now be a period of discussion and debate of our proposals,” said Dilnot.
“We expect the White Paper by Easter next year and that seems possible. If [that does not happen] then we will very rapidly move into disappointment, but we have no expectation we will get [into disappointment] because our sense is we are not alone.”
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