Recasting social care

The Sunday Times - 13 May 2018

The government’s green paper on social care must form the basis of a longer-term funding settlement for the welfare state: a “strategic welfare review”, drawing lessons from the established strategic defence review.

Projecting our country’s long- term needs, the changes required to meet them, the costs and how they will be covered is a mammoth task. The Office for Budget Responsibility is well placed to produce the necessary data; equally necessary is the political courage from the prime minister to seek a new settlement with the electorate on what our country desires from the welfare state and how this is to be financed.

As a first move, a strategic welfare review should look at the capacity of a reformed national insurance base — applied to all, below and above state pension age — to fund a combined national health and social care service.

The green paper, if it is followed up with political courage, could provide the springboard reformers need to recast social care, health and social security for the next generation.

Frank Field MP and Andrew Forsey, House of Commons