TORY PARTY coyness over its election manifesto can be explained, in part, by the political and electoral backlash that it received in 2017 when Theresa May’s plans included a hastily ditched ‘dementia tax’.
Ahead in the opinion polls, and, potentially, in a position to secure an overall Commons majority on December 12, Boris Johnson and his inner circle clearly want to avoid taking unnecessary risks.
However a tenative promise to seek a “cross-party consensus” need to be placed in context of the Government’s failure to advance this issue in recent years – despite Mr Johnson naming it as one of his top priorities when he succeeded Mrs May as Prime Minister in July.
Despite Jeremy Hunt and Matt Hancock, the past and present Health Secretaries, repeatedly promising to publish a Green Paper stating the options open to Parliament, this long-awaited and long-overdue strategy document has still not been forthcoming.
Now there’s no mention of the Green Paper as Mr Hancock blames, first, the last Labour government and then the 2017 Tory manifesto, which he supported, for the absence of any progress. In post since January 2018, he’s not stated whether he has attempted to open talks with his opponents.
Yet, in an election where the main parties are making elaborate and eye-catching spending commitments when it comes to the NHS, they need to realise that social and community care needs to be fit for purpose – or NHS hospitals will, irrespective of the extra money becoming available to them, struggle to meet the health needs of an ageing society. Over to you, Mr Hancock.