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Prime Minister Pledges, ‘Social Care Rescue Plan’

In his first television interview since the election Prime Minister Boris Johnson has admitted it could take until the end of the year to come up with a plan to solve social care and up to another five years before anything is implemented.

Speaking on BBC Breakfast yesterday (January 14) the PM said solving social care had been ‘shirked by governments for about 30 years’ but that his government would deal with it.

The Conservative Party’s manifesto had promised a plan for “cross-party” talks on how to fund care for the elderly in the long term, and also promised an extra £1 billion per year for care budgets- a figure experts say falls well short of what is needed.

However, the Prime Minister said his election victory would allow him to produce a plan within the next 12 months – although the changes would not come into effect until 2025.

The Independent Care Group (ICG) says it is dismayed at Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s admission in a BBC interview that it could take a full parliament to deliver action on social care.

The Group’s Chair, Mike Padgham said: “This is a huge disappointment after all the promises to tackle social care that were made when Mr Johnson took over as Prime Minister and during the General Election campaign.

“To hear that social care could be fobbed off for up to another five years is a kick in the teeth for the 1.5m people who can’t get the care they need today.

“The social care sector deserves better and tackling this crisis should be the Government’s number one domestic priority.

“If we are forced to wait up to five more years then more providers will close and even more people will start going without care.”

Mr Johnson said a plan would be brought forward this year but admitted it could take up to 2025 to have it implemented.

Mr Padgham said the Government had to put quick measures in place to tackle the social care crisis now.

“We don’t need any more plans, documents or proposals, we need action,” he said. “For a start, the Government could alleviate some of the financial pressure on care providers by making social care zero-rated for VAT.

“If the Government can consider intervening to aid the airline Flybe by cutting air passenger duty on domestic flights then it can consider helping social care providers too.”

Vic Rayner, National Care Forum executive director, added: ‘There is a consensus that our current social care system is in urgent need of reform. It is imperative that the government moves forward on this agenda. The time to act is now. Social care matters to us all.

‘We are calling on the Conservatives to make a step change in their approach by becoming the government of social care: a government that recognises the importance of social care in allowing people to live full, healthy and independent lives; the need for an immediate 3-5 year funding settlement as part of a long-term funding solution and a long-term vision for social care shaped by those who use it now, and in the future.’