Byers calls for open debate on funding

Former cabinet minister Stephen Byers has called for the government to have a public debate on reforming the funding system for social care.

Speaking ahead of a lecture he was due to deliver today (Thursday), Byers said the debate was currently being held “quietly” but it needed to be brought into the open now to have any influence on next year’s comprehensive spending review. In recent weeks, both health secretary Patricia Hewitt and care services minister Ivan Lewis have called for such a debate, but the Department of Health is yet to start one.

In a lecture hosted by charity Counsel and Care this week, Byers was also due to call for a new target for reducing pensioner poverty and a commissioner for older people in England, as in Wales.

Counsel and Care chief executive Stephen Burke said the charity would try to increase its ability to influence policy ahead of next year’s comprehensive spending review.

It will be producing a series of policy papers over the coming months, starting with a paper on funding social care in October, which will lay out a series of options for change.

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