Social Care - Health Committee Contents

7  The way forward

371.  While there is welcome consensus on several aspects of social care reform, a number of key issues remain highly contentious and insufficiently addressed. Many witnesses agreed that worthwhile and lasting reform will only be achieved if consensus can be reached on these issues too, so that the necessary tough decisions can be taken with broad popular support.

372.  Achieving consensus on all these difficult and enduring issues requires calm, rational deliberation and an informed national debate. We would have liked to see all the political parties come together in that spirit to map out a programme of sustainable reform. Instead, regrettably, the Government is hastily drafting a White Paper while also rushing through Parliament a hurriedly concocted Bill that cuts across its own Green Paper, in a febrile atmosphere of unedifying pre-election party-political squabbling and point-scoring.

373.  There is still an opportunity, in advance of the demographic challenges to come with the ageing of the "baby boomers", to reform the social care system, achieving consensus and creating a lasting solution that would represent a "Beveridge" model for our time. Current and future generations will be betrayed if the failure to achieve consensus means that social care reform is once more left to languish near the bottom of Government's list of priorities in the next Parliament.

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