The Conservatives have pledged to inject an extra £1 billion per year in social care over the next five years to “stabilise” the system and provide extra support to people of all ages.
Writing in the Daily Mail, Health and Social Care secretary Matt Hancock (pictured) said the move was part of a three-point plan to address the “social care challenge”.
“At this election, we are going further and will commit this £1 billion additional funding for every year of the new Parliament – a £5 billion commitment across the next Parliament to support local authorities to meet peoples’ needs for more social care staff, better infrastructure, technology and facilities,” he said.
The party also plans to find a “cross-party” consensus that addresses social care challenges in the long-term.
“This process will begin as soon as the next Parliament is established, and we will bring forward an answer that solves the problem, commands the widest possible support, and stands the test of time,” Hancock said.
The Conservatives have been criticised for intervening in cross-party talks on social care a decade ago.
Sir Andrew Dilnot, who lead a cross-party commission on Funding for Care and Support in 2010, said in a recent podcast that plans for a National Care Service were making progress, but when the election campaign got going, the Conservative party criticised the proposals, labelling them as something that would lead to a death tax.
In his Daily Mail article, Hancock pledged that the party would work with other parties to decide reforms that “command the widest possible support”.
“Over the last decade, both main parties have seen what happens to bold and complex social care reform plans unveiled in the heat of a hyper-partisan election campaign. This issue is too important to be politicised,” he said.
Hancock said the Tories will consider a range of options to address social care challenges, but it would have one “red line” that “no one needing care will have to sell their home to pay for it”.
“The desire to pass on your home is a fundamental human instinct. Like millions of people across our country, I know just how important it is to people to own their home. It is a symbol of what we have achieved in life. It is something we have worked for, built, protected and preserved, with the expectation that we can leave it to our children,” he said.
“We all want to be able to pass something to future generations. And it breaks my heart to hear stories of people who have worked hard all their life being forced to sell their home to pay for their care. So the third point of our plan for social care will be, without exception that it must guarantee that no one needing care will have to sell their home to pay for it.”
The Conservatives are yet to publish their manifesto.