NEITHER BORIS Johnson nor Jeremy Hunt should be allowed to duck Britain’s social care scandal at tonight’s Tory party leadership hustings.
For, even though Brexit defines their differences, the long-term care of the elderly will be one of the biggest challenges facing the next Prime Minister.
And the political inertia was summed up by Defence Secretary Penny Mordaunt’s excruciating interview when she conceded that delays to the long-overdue Green Paper were “fair criticism”.
At the current rate of progress, the last Pacer trains will be withdrawn from the North’s rail network before the Government reveals its intentions.
With the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee now estimating that it could cost £8bn a year to fix a system riddled with injustices, it is the inability of Ministers to make any progress which is so disconcerting.
Even though Mr Hunt said his objective, as Health Secretary, was a 10-year social care plan, his successor, Matt Hancock, did not even refer to the issue when he gave a lengthy statement to Parliament this week on the NHS and implementation of its own long-term plan.
Why not? Though Mr Hancock is preoccupied helping promote the campaign of Mr Johnson who, himself, has had very little to say on the subject, there can only be two explanations for the Government’s vacillation – either Ministers do not care or they’re waiting for an opportune moment to shift an even greater burden of financial responsibility from the State to the individual. Which is it?