Social care leaders have predicted a major statement on adult social care funding reform if a Conservative-led government is formed this week.
After the general election result, Association of Directors of Adult Social Services president Richard Jones said social care had “lost the road map” for reform because the result meant Labour could not implement its White Paper, published in March.
The Conservatives opposed the White Paper and the Liberal Democrats rejected parts of it.
Jones said: “What we have in the White Paper is a detailed road map [for reform]. There were three phases laid out there – if we don’t have Labour in government you have to assume we lose the detailed map for how we do that.”
But with a Lib Dem-backed Tory government now probable, 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 quickly setting out the new government’s intentions.”
Richard Kemp, the Local Government Association’s Lib Dem group leader, said he expected social care reforms to proceed but they would take a different course from that proposed by Labour. However, he added: “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.”
If the Conservatives form the next government, their care White Paper would be likely to include plans to allow people to insure themselves against the costs of residential care by paying £8,000 on retirement.
However, Martin Green, chief executive of the English Community Care Association, warned that parties would have to revise their manifesto promises on social care, given that none had an overall majority. He described the whole reform process as being “all up for grabs”.
Richard Humphries, senior fellow in social care at the King’s Fund, said: “You could argue that if the Lib Dems and Tories can agree on the really big issue to form a government then they should be able to do so on social care.”