The government has confirmed in the Queen’s speech that it plans to consult on its proposals to address the funding crisis affecting older people’s social care, but has again failed to make any mention of the needs of working-age disabled people.
Conservative plans for the funding of social care for older people – particularly on charging – were widely seen as one of the reasons the party failed to secure an overall parliamentary majority in this month’s general election.
But it was also criticised for failing to include any mention of how it would reform the funding of working-age social care.
Yesterday’s Queen’s speech includes 27 bills and draft bills that the government plans to introduce over the next two years, with much of its focus on the process of leaving the European Union.
The speech includes a pledge to “bring forward proposals for consultation” on social care.
But the briefing notes published alongside the speech ignore the social care needs of working-age disabled people, and say instead that the government will “work to address the challenges of social care for our ageing population” by “bringing forward proposals for consultation”.
They also say that “further reform is required to ensure that the system is prepared to meet the challenges of the increasing numbers of over 75s”, and that the consultation will “set out options to improve the social care system and to put it on a more secure financial footing, supporting people, families and communities to prepare for old age”.
A Department of Health (DH) spokesman said that the consultation was likely to be via a green paper – although a white paper was also possible – which would be published “fairly soon” and “almost definitely” this year.
The controversial social care charging policy proposed by the Tories in their manifesto originally revolved around allowing every older person to retain at least £100,000 of their assets and savings, while the value of people’s homes would be taken into account – when calculating charges – for those receiving domiciliary care as well as those receiving residential care.
But following widespread criticism, May announced that there would also be a lifetime cap on the amount spent on care charges, although she did not say at what level this would be set.
Asked if the consultation would include these proposals, the DH spokesman said: “She will consult on those limits, that is our understanding.”