The political climate in British politics has been somewhat volatile for a number of years now, but as we headed into 2020, many hoped the turn of a new decade would see a resolution to a number of political problems.
However, a cabinet reshuffle which turned into a cabinet overhaul has left questions looming over the new chancellor’s first budget which is now weeks away. Will social care get the funding it deserves?
As the first spring budget of the new decade looms, the newly appointed chancellor of the exchequer will be keen to get it right. From Rishi Sunak’s point of view, he will want get though his first month in the role pretty much unscathed and keep everyone happy.
However, the public, those in the Westminster bubble and Rishi Sunak himself will know this is easier said than done and just about impossible. For many though, going to any length in achieving this objective, will mean he has to have social care somewhere near the top of his agenda.
As the announcement was made, a number of familiar industry and political commentators were keen to voice their feelings.
One which stood out was the reaction of financial advisory firm, Aegon. The firm was quick to make clear what its priorities for reform are under the government’s ‘decade of renewal’ budget, and social care funding comes out on top.
Aegon’s team detailed how a new deal on social care funding is the most pressing issue for The new chancellor, Rishi Sunak’s first budget.
Research from the pension and investment provider revealed two in five (39%) see a new deal on social care funding as their number one priority.
Changes to pension tax relief received the second highest number of votes (27%), with finding a pension solution for the self-employed top choice with a fifth of advisers (18%).
It explained how as one of the biggest societal issues, uncertainty over the future direction of social care has made the issue a national conversation and led to an increased public frustration.
Earlier this year, the prime minister disappointed many hoping for an imminent set of proposals by saying only that social care funding would be consulted on sometime ‘this year’ with implementation potentially taking up to five years.
Steven Cameron, Pensions Director at Aegon, commented: “If new chancellor Rishi Sunak’s budget is to truly set out plans for a ‘decade of renewal’, it should be used to announce bold reform and put some meat on the bones of manifesto promises.
“With Brexit now at least on the way to being ‘done’, and with our population living longer, now is the time to tackle the UK’s biggest challenges in pensions and social care funding. So what policies do advisers want to see emerge from the Chancellor’s red box on budget day?”
Adding: “Perhaps unsurprisingly, given the length of time it’s taken, the runaway issue that advisers most want clarity on is a new deal on social care funding. The issue affects millions of individuals, looking to find and fund appropriate care either for themselves or a family member, so the government need to be bold and deliver on its commitment to reforming social care.
“The adviser community has made it clear how much of a priority it is for them and their clients, so we now need to see Government progress to ‘get social care done’,” he concluded.
Football’s January transfer window may have closed over a month ago, but this did not stop Boris Johnson and his team of advisers making a straight swap when it came to actually making new ministerial appointments.
Helen Whately was appointed Minister of Care as part of Boris Johnson’s cabinet reshuffle. The MP for Faversham and Mid Kent, who was previously the Minister of State in the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, took the job in early February as former Minister of Care, Caroline Dinenage, made the move in the other direction.
Matt Hancock has been reappointed as the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care.
Commenting on her new role, Whately said: “I’m completely delighted to be appointed Minister of State in the Department of Health and Social Care and looking forward to working with Secretary of State Matt Hancock. Can’t wait to get going.”
On her departure, Dinenage posted on Twitter: “Huge thanks to all the inspiring, incredible people it’s been an honour to meet & work with along the way. The toughest & yet the best of jobs. Excited for the journey ahead but will miss you all.”
Jane Townson, CEO of United Kingdom Homecare Association welcomed Whately’s appointment, adding: “Never before has there been a more important time to support citizens to live in the place they call home, with the people they love, connected to their communities, and with a sense of purpose.
“We look forward to working with Helen to ensure that supporting people to live well and independently at home is central to the UK’s strategy for health and well-being.