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A cross-partry approach to solving the care crisis

Blog post 13 June  2017

The people have spoken and here we are with a hung parliament. Depending what you read or whom you believe the reasons differ. But one theme emerges again and again: The issue of how funding is achieved for long-term social care.

A dominant issue with voters, it touched a nerve and helped change the landscape of government.

Both Labour and the Conservatives wanted to do something about the potential catastrophic costs of care in later life, both wanted to join up health and have one-pot funding, and both saw the need for a solution that was sustainable.

The sums were different, the messages confusing. We’re dropping the Dilnot capping, said the Conservatives, only to change their mind.

Labour suggested a cross-party consensus on how social care should be funded – perhaps, for me, one of the most realistic approaches to the problem that was aired in the pre-election spin.

The cross-party approach is not a new one. Last year Independent Age urged David Cameron to build a model to fund social care and in doing so to include the input of other political parties,

In an open letter, signed by 40 organisations, it said “make the Commission a reality.”

Back in January 2016 Simon Bottery, Director of Policy and External Relations at Independent Age, said:

“Without a robust health and care service that delivers for older people when they need it, the UK will never be truly prepared for ageing.

“A Commission on the future of health and social care is the vital first move towards recognising that the health and care systems cannot work in isolation – only when they work effectively together can the needs of older people be met. This is a conversation we cannot avoid if we are truly committed to ensuring older people have the quality of life they deserve. We urge the Prime Minister to back this Commission.”

Now it appears financial institutions are urging the same approach.

Old Mutual Wealth, big players in the UK and international investments markets, are calling for a cross-party approach.

Responsible Business Director, Jane Goodland has this to say in a Guardian Online article: “A cross-party parliamentary group should consider all possible options when it looks for the answer to this crisis.

“It should find a multifaceted solution that will encourage people to save for their long-term care. Current policies use a stick, threatening the public that care costs may drain their funds. An alternative is to use a carrot and incentivise people to save.

“Whatever solution is reached, it needs to be simple, sustainable and communicated in consumer friendly language. Anything else will leave the public back at square one.

“The power of simplicity has been touted by some of the great minds of history. However, when it comes to the debate around social care, it appears policymakers have yet to grasp this important concept.”

We need the best minds, inspired solutions and strategists to make them happen. To think these ‘gifts’ to society belong to just one political branding is ridiculous.

Social care needs joined up thinking; let’s have some in the House of Commons, please.