Tory-led government ‘would produce new care White Paper’

A Conservative-led government would produce a new White Paper on adult care funding reform should it take power, as expected, this week, a sector leader has said.

A Conservative-led government would produce a new White Paper on adult care funding reform should it take power, as expected, this week, a sector leader has said.

Following last week’s election, Association of Directors of Adult Social Services president Richard Jones said social care had “lost the road map” for funding reform because the result meant Labour could not implement its White Paper, published in March.

The Tories opposed the paper and the Liberal Democrats rejected key parts of it. The two parties are currently negotiating over whether the Lib Dems will support a Tory minority government or even form a coalition with the Conservatives to establish a Commons majority.

Local Government Association adult social care lead Andrew Cozens said: “Because there wasn’t a political consensus about [Labour’s] White Paper I’m anticipating that there will be a White Paper very quickly setting out the new government’s intentions.”

Richard Kemp, the LGA’s Liberal Democrat group leader, said he expected social care reform to proceed because it was too big an issue to ignore, but said any reforms would not take the same course as they would have under Labour.

However, Kemp said: “I don’t think having to start building a new way forward makes that much difference because there was a hell of a long way to go between the [Labour] White Paper and legislation.”

A Conservative White Paper on care would include plans to allow older people to insure themselves against the costs of residential care – and possibly domiciliary care as well – by paying a lump sum on retirement.

Like Labour, the party would also introduce national eligibility criteria for services, ending local determination, and portable assessments, meaning people would retain eligibility for care should they move.

In a pre-election interview with Community Care, Lib Dem shadow health secretary Norman Lamb said the party would use its influence after the election to press for an all-party commission on social care funding, an idea proposed in Labour’s White Paper that the Tories are opposed to.

However, press reports of the current negotiations between Tories and Lib Dems have contained no reference to social care, with the economy, political reform and education dominating the discussions.

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