Labour 'will pull out of elderly care talks unless Coalition acts’

David Cameron must demonstrate his commitment to tackling the “growing crisis” facing elderly and disabled adults, Liz Kendall, the shadow minister for care and older people, said.

The Prime Minister has promised to address the rising costs of supporting the ageing population, but progress on paying for reforms appears to have stalled.

In 2010, one of the Coalition’s first acts was to launch a commission on the funding of elderly care, to prevent tens of thousands of pensioners being forced to sell their homes to pay for help each year.

However, the Government is understood to have ruled out providing extra money for the system.

Talks are under way between ministers and Labour in an attempt to reach cross-party agreement on how to raise the billions of pounds needed to pay for elderly care in future.

Ms Kendall, who is representing Labour in the talks, indicated she would not be prepared to provide political cover for the Coalition’s continued failure to act.

In an article for The Daily Telegraph’s website, Ms Kendall calls for a mature discussion about where new money will be found. “Labour is pushing for progress in the talks as a matter of urgency,” she writes. “The Coalition must now set out a clear and convincing timetable for reform. This issue is too important to duck, and too urgent to kick into the long grass.”

A Labour source said the party was not prepared to continue with the talks indefinitely, if faster progress was not made.

The warnings came as care home operator Bupa said the system was being starved of money and would need an extra £1.7 billion by 2015.

Oliver Thomas, the director of Bupa Care Homes, said: “The Government must acknowledge there is a social care funding crisis facing the system right now.”

Funding for the care of the elderly should be concentrated on the poorest and most disadvantaged, according to a think tank report.

The Centre for Social Justice said a failure to help the most needy would have a major impact on the NHS.


Sourced from the Telegraph, 8th May 2012.