Select committee chairs call on May to begin cross-party social care review 'as soon as possible'
The chairs of three influential select committees have called on Theresa May to work on a cross-party "political consensus” on health and social care funding.
The letter to the Prime Minister is co-signed by Sarah Wollaston, the Tory chair of the Health Committee, and by Clive Betts and Meg Hillier, the Labour MPs who chair the Communities Committee and the Public Accounts Committee.
They call on Mrs May to initiate a review “as soon as possible” to tackle the “immense challenge” of looking after Britain’s ageing population.
Communities Secretary Sajid Javid last month unveiled plans to let local authorities raise council tax to provide extra social care funding.
That announcement came after Philip Hammond had notably failed to provide extra central government funding for the sector in his Autumn Statement.
Labour have also pointed out that councils in poor areas will not be able to raise as much money for social care as those in the best off parts of the country.
In their letter, the three committee chairs urge Mrs May to follow through on her appearance before the Liaison Committee last month, where she said the Government was “already starting to look” at a long-term social care plan.
“We were encouraged by your recognition at the Liaison Committee that everyone has a part to play in finding a sustainable way of ensuring social care provision in the future,” the MPs write.
“You also accepted the need for a review to find a way of funding social care sustainably for the long term.
“We believe that can best be achieved if there is cross-party consensus, and therefore urge you to invite all parties to become involved in a review, which should begin as soon as possible.
“Given the scale of rising demand, this immense challenge will face whichever party is in government over the coming decades.”
Janet Morrison, Chief Executive of Independent Age, responded to the call to action, saying:
“The calls for a long-term solution on health and social care funding are now overwhelming. The Prime Minister must heed these calls and take urgent action to establish a cross-party process that will come up with recommendations on social care. We have long argued that any long-term solutions must be above party political divisions, as the challenges in social care will affect people for years to come. The Prime Minister must grasp this opportunity to ensure this process brings change that ultimately improves the lives of millions of older people who rely on adult care services now and in the future.”