Wednesday, 31 March 2010


The arguments over social care rumble on without resolution - a clear sign that the cosy consensus between Labour and the Conservatives continues with no suggestion that either party is ready to take the decisions necessary for the future of the country.

Labour has a white paper which won't be delivered. The Tories want the market to resolve an intractable problem. Meanwhile people in need of support for their care needs wait for someone to actually do something.

The Lib Dem Shadow Health Secretary, Norman Lamb said “After 13 years in power spent ducking social care reform we probably shouldn’t be surprised that Labour has once again hit it into the long grass. A white paper without any commitment to substantial change in the next Parliament is barely worth the paper it is written on. We’re now being offered a series of piecemeal reforms that have not been properly thought through or costed.

“Seeking consensus is the right approach but that will only work if the cross-party commission is free to consider all ways of funding social care, not just Labour’s preferred policy. The commission should report within a year so changes can be implemented straight away.”

The Lib Dems have been criticised for not having a clear policy on this issue but this is wrong. We believe that there needs to be a partnership between individuals and the state so that any social care system is affordable. We also want to talk about it and to come to a resolution which everyone can agree on, rather than seeing millions of people lose out while politicians haggle over details for years. As the quote from Norman Lamb makes clear, Lib Dems are calling for this kind of collaborative approach AND for a decision on how to proceed within a year.

Now I'm not generally a betting man but I'd put a lot of money on the strong probability that if one party or another wins an outright majority on May 6th a decision on social care will not be achieved within this reasonable time frame.

And the Lib Dems are called indecisive!

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