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Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak to hold talks on social care reforms

At last, social care reforms on the way: Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak will hold crunch talks on how to change England’s broken system next week – two years after the PM vowed to fix it

  • Boris Johnson, Rishi Sunak and Health Secretary Matt Hancock to meet Tuesday
  • Proposals for long-promised reforms in England could be published this summer
  • PM is understood to favour imposing a lifetime cap on the cost of social care  

Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak will hold crunch talks next week to agree the shape of long-promised reforms to England’s broken care system.

They and Health Secretary Matt Hancock will meet on Tuesday, and proposals could be published this summer.

Next month marks two years since Mr Johnson stood on the steps of Downing Street in his first speech as Prime Minister and announced that the Government would ‘fix the crisis in social care once and for all with a clear plan we have prepared’.

But no plan has been forthcoming, with councils, care providers and charities warning that the creaking care system is about to topple after being ravaged by Covid-19 and years of inadequate funding.

The Prime Minister is understood to favour imposing a lifetime cap on the cost of social care to end the scandal of people having to sell the family home to fund sky-high bills.


Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak will hold crunch talks next week to agree the shape of long-promised reforms to England’s broken care system

Under proposals put forward by economist Sir Andrew Dilnot, the cap would be set at £50,000 and the amount people can have in savings, assets and property before the state steps in would rise to £100,000.

But the Chancellor is concerned about the huge cost of the scheme and the fact that inflation is rising more quickly than expected.

Charities hope the meeting will lead to an agreement on a multi-billion-pound budget for the scheme, as well as measures to boost the social care staff, including a minimum age.

Sir Andrew, who came up with his plan ten years ago, said: ‘This has been urgent for decades – Covid has demonstrated just how urgent. It is critical we act, and act generously.’

Former health secretary Jeremy Hunt added: ‘It really is now or never. We’ve just had the toughest year ever for the care system, and the country has seen how brilliant care workers are. If we’re not prepared to sort out the crisis in the system now, we never will.’

Former health secretary Jeremy Hunt (pictured) said: ‘If we’re not prepared to sort out the crisis in the system now, we never will’

A social care plan not was expected to be ready until the autumn spending review. But health officials feared this would not give enough time to get a new funding system up and running before the next election. A Government source said there was so much work to do that it would take longer to come up with a finished plan.

Currently, people have to fund the full cost of their own care until their assets – including the value of their home – have been reduced to just £23,250.

The Daily Mail, which has been running the End Dementia Care Cost Betrayal campaign, revealed last month that, since Mr Johnson became PM, dementia sufferers have been forced to spend £14billion of their own money on care.

Caroline Abrahams, of Age UK, said: ‘If there’s a meeting to decide the Government’s plan for social care then the health and happiness of millions are hanging on the result.

‘Older people who can’t get any care or enough good care and who can find themselves fleeced if paying the bills themselves, disabled people whose dreams of a full life are often thwarted by a lack of basic support, carers with no option but to sacrifice their careers to look after a loved one, care workers who kept coming to work during the pandemic despite the risks to themselves and their families but who subsist on poverty pay with no real prospect of advancement.’

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