The Conservatives have ruled out resurrecting the so-called dementia tax in the party’s new manifesto, after the controversial policy effectively torpedoed Theresa May’s campaign.
Health secretary Matt Hancock said the country needs a “long-term solution for social care that rises above party politics”, acknowleding that successive governments have failed to get to grips with the issue.
Social care services will face a £3.5bn funding gap by 2024/25, the Local Government Association estimates.
Writing in the Daily Mail ahead of the party’s manifesto launch, Hancock said Conservatives would unveil a “three-point plan” with £1bn of additional funding every year throughout the five-year term.
This funding boost – the first point – would “stablise” the system before the second point – building a “cross-party consensus” – takes place.
The third point was a commitment “without exception” that “no one needing care will have to sell their home to pay for it.”
Hancock explained: “We will consider a range of options, but we will have one red line: we will protect the family home.”
Arguing that passing on a family home was “a fundamental human instinct”, Hancock continued: “We all want to be able to pass something to future generations. And it breaks my heart to hear stories of people who have worked hard all their life being forced to sell their home to pay for their care.
He added: “This three-point plan – stabilising the current system, immediately securing cross-party consensus for a long-term solution, and guaranteeing that no one will have to sell their home to pay for care – will provide certainty and security for our older population.”
But Labour’s shadow minister for social care and mental health, Barbara Keeley, attacked Hancock for coming up with “a plan to develop a plan”, saying it raised “more questions than answers”.
“Hundreds of thousands of older and disabled people who are going without care need an urgent solution and only Labour has put forward a credible plan,” she added.
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