Tories won't put a solution to social care crisis in their election manifesto because of the 'adversarial' political climate, says MP Kevin Hollinrake

Thirsk and Malton MP Kevin Hollinrake
Thirsk and Malton MP Kevin Hollinrake
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The Conservative Party is unlikely to put forward a solution to the country's social care crisis in its manifesto for the upcoming election because of the "adversarial" nature of British politics, a senior Yorkshire MP has claimed.

Thirsk and Malton MP Kevin Hollinrake said proposing a way of paying for the spiralling costs of adult social care "is probably not going to be too attractive a prospect".

The country's ageing population has led to a social care crisis. Pic: Anchor

The country's ageing population has led to a social care crisis. Pic: Anchor

In 2017, Prime Minister Theresa May was forced to backtrack on her plans unveiled in her election manifesto to make people pay more of the costs of social care after they were branded a “dementia tax”.

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And one of Boris Johnson's first acts as Prime Minister was to stand on the steps of 10 Downing Street and tell the nation: "We will fix the crisis in social care once and for all."

Another General Election is expected in the coming months, but Mr Hollinrake told a fringe event at Conservative Party Conference that a long-term solution on social care would have to wait until after that.

He is a member of the Commons Housing, Communities and Local Government Select Committee, which joined with the Health and Social Care committee to recommend a 'social insurance premium' solution.

The idea adopted in Germany in the 1990s requires everyone to pay around one per cent of their earnings into a private insurance system which funds social care costs.

Mr Hollinrake, a member of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on social care, said: "Sticking a solution into adult social care into the manifesto is probably not going to be too attractive a prospect I don't think, bearing in mind what happened in the last election, so I don't think we'll put in a solution like that, though I know Matt Hancock is very keen on this solution.

"But I think beyond the election, we need to then properly look at this with all stakeholders, people who really know what's going on at the sharp end, make sure this is the solution or if there is a better solution out there, or a mixture of solutions.

"But I really think if we can put some of the politics aside we can deliver a strategic solution."

He was backed by fellow Tory and Chichester MP Gillian Keegan, who said it would have to be "out of the limelight of the election" when a cross-party effort was made to find a solution.

The growing cost of care for the elderly and vulnerable - a result of the UK's ageing population - is causing huge problems for local authorities.

According to Mike Padgham, the North Yorkshire-based chair of the Independent Care Group, chronic under-funding has left 1.4m people without the care they need.

Describing a "demographic time bomb", Mr Hollinrake said the UK's debt was currently around 80 per cent of its Gross Domestic Product, but on current trends this would rise to 280 per cent by 2060.

He told the meeting: "We have to do something transformational, something different. People see the unattractive adversarial side of politics, in the last few days particularly. But there is lots going in Parliament which is cross-party."

He added: "I think it was [former Tory Cabinet Minister] Norman Tebbit who said politics is about shooting the crocodile nearest to the boat, which isn't the strategic thinking you'd ideally want to see.

"The difference with this is that it is a huge crocodile and it's about to swallow the boat completely."