Minister dampens care funding expectations
The Government's care minister has cooled local authority expectations surrounding the possible launch of a bespoke funding package for long-term social care.
Paul Burstow told council chiefs during a meeting of the Local Government Association's community wellbeing board that the recent social care Bill and white paper failed to contain proposals for a separate long-term care funding package.
He indicated that in the lead-up to the publication of the documents, "funding reform and funding were conflated".
The politician added that although councils will have to lower their expectations with regards to the next round of funding settlements for social care, local authorities will still be given the chance to work more closely with the NHS.
Commenting on the social care Bill and white paper, Mr Burstow told the panel: "I'm puzzled by the expectation we would step outside the 2010 spending review. It would have been unprecedented and the Government never hinted it would."
In the future, councils will not be "named and shamed" if they fail to meet certain social care standards, the minister indicated, while he called on them to offer the best universal social care provision they can with the resources available.
Speaking during the same meeting, Lord Norman Warner, a former health minister, responded positively to the Government's plans to accept a cap on lifetime care contributions.
Lord Warner, who is now the Kent CC social care director, said it would not be unreasonable to impose a cap of between £60,000 and £70,000 on contributions, given the current economic environment in the UK.
He added that a fixed cap and funding certainty are required in order for council-run deferred payment systems to be successfully set up.
Referencing the best-selling novel, the former minister said that a "white paper lacking a funding strategy is as much a fantasy as Fifty Shades of Grey".