The issue has outwitted successive governments and led to the twin problems of vast numbers of families facing hugely expensive care costs while the wider system struggles for funding.
But with Mr Johnson’s second anniversary as Prime Minister now just months away, there is still little sign of the plan he promised the nation - despite the Covid crisis highlighting and exacerbating the immense pressures on the sector.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s explanation this morning for why there was no mention of there was no mention of social care in this week’s Budget was both promising and alarming at the same time. It was promising in that he said part of the reason for the delay was the desire to build a cross-party consensus to create a sustainable long-term policy. That is an eminently sensible approach given the vital importance in getting this right should go beyond party politics.
But it was also alarming on two fronts. Firstly, Mr Sunak intimated that the current focus is on dealing with the pandemic rather than social care. It is an excuse that doesn’t wash given the Government proved itself capable of delivering a trade deal with the EU last year - proving it is possible to focus on other big issues beyond Covid.
Equally, hearing Labour’s shadow minister for social care Liz Kendall saying that the Government had not “discussed or even raised” the idea of a cross-party approach indicates that any such arrangement remains some way off from becoming reality.
But the can must no longer be kicked down the road - lives depend on effective action being taken urgently.
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