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Will the government Dilnot or not? We need to get on with it

As the recently ousted care services minister today launched an attack on the Treasury for a lack of political will on funding care reform, BASW is today urging the government to stop “dithering” and get on with it.

Writing in the Daily Telegraph, Liberal Democrat MP Paul Burstow, who was replaced by Norman Lamb on 5 September, accuses the Treasury of attempting to “smother” the cap on lifetime care costs and said that within government there is “no recognition that left unreformed there is no incentive for families to plan and prepare”.

Mr Burstow’s comments follow a series of leaks in July that indicated that the recommendations of the Dilnot commission would be implemented.

Ministers have said that they support the idea of a lifetime cap on care costs in principle but have not committed the £1.7billion needed to fund it.

Commenting on the former minister’s article, BASW England manager Ruth Cartwright said: “Mr Burstow’s remarks are akin to locking the stable door after the horse has bolted. While we appreciate that it can be difficult for a lone minister to effect reform, and can only hope he was stridently making his case within government, this all feels rather futile.

“Even now, he is being cagey about revealing where the additional funding will come from.

“It is also worrying that his real views about the government’s willingness to reform care funding could have contributed to why he lost his job earlier this month, and, as such, suggest even less willingness that is already apparent for ministers to take this issue seriously.

“The coalition is certainly taking a very strange approach to revealing progress on reform; first we had the care and support white paper saying the government had rejected Dilnot’s recommendations for a lifetime cap on care costs, and then we have leaks a month later revealing that it will be implemented. Which is it?

“It is interesting to note that Mr Burstow has been replaced by another Lib Dem, Norman Lamb, so it is highly likely that this row will rumble on, but we hope that Mr Lamb will seize the baton and run with it, rather than ‘kicking the can’ further down the road.

“Despite the leaks and infighting, we have to remember that there are real people and their families in desperate need of funding reform.

“David Cameron recently launched a crusade against the ‘dither’ that is holding the country back, so why doesn’t he get on with it, stop dithering and sort out care funding once and for all.”