Matt Hancock pledges £3.5 billion extra for social care
Author: Caroline White
Health and social care secretary Matt Hancock has pledged a £3.5 billion cash injection for England’s ailing social care system, as part of his bid to become the UK’s next prime minister.
He is one of 10 prospective candidates for the post that have gone through to the first selection round.
In an interview with the Daily Mail, to kickstart his campaign for leadership of the Conservative Party, Mr Hancock said that he would seek the extra funds for social care in the next Spending Review.
He is calling for a state-backed insurance scheme to cover the cost of care, which would be paid for by an insurance scheme to which workers would voluntarily contribute.
The idea is expected to feature in the government’s long-delayed green paper on social care, according to the Daily Mail.
Mr Hancock reportedly said the current system was unfair, and that there was a clear “role for government” in providing insurance that the market will not offer.
The NHS Confederation has welcomed his recognition of the crisis facing social care.
Niall Dickson, chief executive of the NHS Confederation and chair of the Health for Care campaign, an alliance of 15 healthcare organisations campaigning for a long-term settlement for social care services in England, congratulated Mr Hancock “for recognising and promising to address the greatest social crisis of our time.”
But he added: “What a shame the outgoing prime minister failed to deliver her promise to fix the tragedy that is social care.”
“Although we have had too many unfulfilled promises in this area, we now call on the other candidates in the race to be prime minister to pledge that they will make this an urgent priority for their administration,” he continued.
He went on: “The Health for Care campaign will continue to call on all politicians to come together and agree to shore up the current service, agree radical reform and a long-term funding settlement. Millions of the most vulnerable people and their family carers deserve nothing less – they have waited long enough.”