Isabel Hardman Isabel Hardman

Theresa May won’t get a better chance to deal with the social care crisis

What is the greatest problem facing Theresa May this year? The Prime Minister is preparing for her speech on what Brexit means (in which she will presumably have to speak in sentences rather than using random and meaningless slogans), but that’s not the only major policy issue that she should deal with in 2017.

As I explain in this week’s magazine, Cabinet ministers are growing increasingly agitated at what they see as a paltry response to the social care crisis. As MPs, they are being lobbied by furious council leaders who say that nothing announced so far even comes close to alleviating the crisis. As ministers, many of them see the effects of a poor settlement on social care funding in their portfolios. 

Today three select committee chairs – Meg Hillier from the powerful Public Accounts Committee, Clive Betts from the Communities and Local Government Committee, and Sarah Wollaston of the Health Committee – have written to May demanding a cross-party ‘review to find a way of funding social care sustainably for the long term’. Consensus is not always a good thing in politics: it can remove the Flint of Opposition which sharpens ideas. But then again this is a serious long-term issue which needs the consent of all parties to ensure that a long-term funding settlement would be honoured by any government. 

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