We (along with everyone else) have been busy trying to work out what the result of the election means. For the world of social care, like much else, there are lots of unknowns. Whilst it seems almost certain that the social care policy ideas in the manifesto won’t make it into the Queen’s speech, it is not certain what social care policies, if any, will be in it. Or indeed even whether there will be a Queen’s speech next week.
In the middle of this uncertainty, here are three things we have more clarity on:
- For many, this election will have reinforced just how difficult it is to get across messages about social care funding changes. Even if you do have sensible changes to propose, it is very easy for them to seem unfair to large cohorts of people – even if they wouldn’t actually lose out themselves! What impact that will have for the content, timing and presentation of future proposed changes, through a Green Paper or otherwise, remains to be seen.
- Through the manifesto process, a much stronger consensus for a ‘cap’ emerged than ever existed before. There was very little noise in the system when the Care Act part 2 changes were pushed back and looked like they may never happen. The debate following the manifesto led to Theresa May ‘clarifying’ that there would still be a cap under Conservative proposals. It seems inevitable now that some kind of cap will be part of future proposals.
- Lastly and most importantly, social care must surely now be firmly recognised as a top political issue. History may well record the social care proposals as the turning point in the election campaign where momentum shifted. That will not be forgotten.