Social care row: Lib Dem urges Tory chief to attend conference

Liberal Democrat health spokesperson Norman Lamb has urged Tory opposite number Andrew Lansley to attend this Friday’s conference on social care funding reform, to help get efforts to forge a cross-party consensus back on track.

Lansley has said he would boycott the conference – called by health secretary Andy Burnham – unless the government rules out introducing a compulsory levy on older people, or estates, to fund personal care for all, something Labour has refused to do.

Behind-the-scenes talks between Lamb, Lansley and Burnham broke down last week after the Tories launched an attack on the idea, dubbing it a “death tax”.

However, Lamb said: “The care system is in crisis and many elderly people are getting inadequate care. The Liberal Democrats want efforts to achieve a cross-party agreement on social care to sort this problem out once and for all. Critically those efforts must engage the public and all those organisations involved in care for the elderly.  The Tories will be betraying older voters if they fail to take part.”

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