Nine words of nothing. That is the sum total of what the Government had to say in last weeks Queens speech about social care. A shameful betrayal of frail older people, but, no different to what has been going on for years. Nor is it just the fault of this Government or this political party.
The rising cost of care for the rapidly rising population of older people has been foreseen and ignored for decades. It is social problem which nobody will face up to. Not just the politicians, but also the institutions, the regulators, the media and ultimately old people themselves and their relatives.
There are plenty of solutions put forward :- more training for careers; better pay for care staff; tougher regulation of poor quality standards; the list is endless. The big but, is that they all amount to a lot more money and nobody can agree who pays !
The starting position of most discussion begins with the assumption that older people who need care should not have to sell their homes to pay for care. That is precisely the wrong place to start and only guarantees there will be no solution. The fact is that there are trillions of pounds locked up in older peoples homes, which could easily pay for good quality home care or residential care.
That is not to advocate the current forms of equity release, which I believe are restrictive and ridiculously expensive. However, the Government could facilitate payment for care and retrospectively charge for care secured against an older persons house.
It would take a bold leader to suggest this and I doubt we have politicians of that standing any more. It would be a move as significant as the setting up of the NHS