The coalition government cannot agree on how to find the extra funding needed for adult social care reform, the care services minister has admitted.
Paul Burstow said the disagreement will hold up the legislation needed to implement the social care reforms recommended by the Law Commission and the Dilnot commission on long-term adult care funding.
The adult social care White Paper had been expected towards the end of this year, but legislation is now expected in late spring next year.
Speaking at a Local Government Association conference on social care, Burstow said that the Treasury was worried about how much “additional wealth” will be brought into the care system by people using their own assets through insurance.
A key proposal in Dilnot is for people to take greater responsibility for some of their future care needs by taking out care insurance or buying annuity products as part of a new relationship with the state.
The Treasury needed to “bottom out” the figures to ensure it was confident Dilnot’s figures made sense and that his reforms would not become a drain on the state by working out how many people would use care insurance or their own assets, he said.
“There is a potentially significant dividend to be acquired from the reforms,” he said.
But he added: “Until the Treasury feel confident that it does work financially they will want us to hold on.”
The delay in implementing the much needed social care reforms is also being caused by the need for a “clearer understanding” of the role of financial regulation in the light of care home operator Southern Cross’s problems, Burstow said. Ministers also want to use any reforms to ensure quality and greater integration between the NHS and social care.
However, Burstow insisted the government was committed to implementing the reforms outlined in economist Andrew Dilnot’s report.
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