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Westlake Legal Group > Social Care

Chris Walker: Better housing for older people would also be good news for the NHS

Chris Walker is a former government economist and author of Healthier and Happier, a new report for Homes for Later Living

When politicians talk about housing policy, the focus is frequently on helping young people to get on the housing ladder. The current prime minister is no exception; in his first speech in the job, Boris Johnson spoke of “giving millions of young people the chance to own their own home”.

The focus on how the lack of supply is hitting young people is entirely understandable. Homes are now unaffordable for most millennials and nearly a million more 20-34-year-olds live at home than 20 years ago. The sense of the housing market not working for young people who quite naturally aspire to have a family-sized home of their own one day might explain the recent study by Onward which found the new ‘tipping point’ age at which voters are more likely to vote Conservative has risen to 51.

However, there is a danger in focusing solely on first-time buyers.  If the Tories fail to develop a strong offer for the many older people who want to carry on living independently but need housing which enables them to do so safely and enjoyably, they will miss the opportunity to both release older family-sized homes and realise significant health and social care savings as our population ages.

The scale of the problem is underlined in my new report for Homes for Later Living, which highlights that more older people are living alone in unsuitable housing where they are likely to suffer from falls, loneliness and dementia. It is envisaged that by 2032, the NHS could be overwhelmed by nearly a million extra older people suffering from falls-related injuries.

Supporting the case for more specialist retirement housing, my analysis shows that building 30,000 homes for later living every year for the next ten years could generate fiscal savings to the NHS and local authorities of at least £1.4 billion a year. This comes on top of the fiscal savings already being delivered by the existing homes for later living market, thought to be at least £750 million a year.

Just as importantly the report states that an average person aged 80 feels as good as someone 10 years younger in wellbeing terms after moving from mainstream housing to retirement housing. These benefits stem from the specialist design of retirement housing, be it apartments, bungalows or ‘extra care housing’, along with high levels of social interaction, varying levels of support and care, and large communal spaces.

With a General Election around the corner, Conservative strategists would do well to take note. Ever since the last election efforts have been under way to get older people back on side and rightly so. The Prime Minister has pledged that his plans to tackle the social care crisis will satisfy two criteria – namely that “nobody should be forced to sell their home and everybody should have dignity and security in old age”.  One of the ways that people can be helped to stay in their own home in later life is if we see a sustained focus on the delivery of more housing specifically designed for people’s changing needs as they get older.

According to the latest government forecasts, the number of people aged over 80 is set to rise from about 3.2 million today to five million in 2032. Building more homes for later living would help many older people to lead happier and healthier lives. It would also help to ease the social care crisis and boost the coffers of the NHS.  The question is: can the Conservatives really afford not to act?

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

WATCH: McDonnell – Labour will tackle ‘national scandal’ of social care

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Gary Porter: Reflections on four years as the voice of local government

Lord Porter is the Leader of South Holland District Council and a former Chairman of the Local Government Association.

It has been nearly three months since I stood down as the Chairman of the Local Government Association (LGA), and in that short period, British politics has experienced further dramatic change: Boris Johnson was elected as Leader of our Party and appointed Prime Minister, the Cabinet was radically reshuffled, and the brief return of Parliament after the summer recess produced more drama in one week than a full session used to in quieter times.

Although spread over four years, my time as LGA Chairman also coincided with a period of profound change: I took up the post in July 2015 just after David Cameron had secured the Party’s first electoral majority in 23 years, 2016 was the year of the Brexit vote, and in 2017, we had yet another general election, the third in seven years. The following two years saw the implications of the Brexit vote crowding out almost everything else and eventually led to Theresa May stepping down as our Party Leader and Prime Minister.

As LGA Chairman, I dealt with three Secretaries of State at the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG): Greg Clark, Sajid Javid, and James Brokenshire. They are quite different characters, but all shared a willingness to listen to local government and respond to our concerns, for which I will always be grateful.

Under Greg, we saw significant progress on devolution in certain parts of the country, as well as the first serious moves towards the localisation of business rates. After he moved to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills in 2016 I continued to work closely with him, particularly regarding the Industrial Strategy.

Sajid’s time at MHCLG coincided with increasing concern about the crisis in adult social care. Having listened to our lobbying on this, he worked across Whitehall to secure an extra £2 billion in funding for social care in the 2017 Budget.

Under Sajid’s leadership, we also saw a renewed focus on getting more homes built. For example, he secured £5 billion for the new Housing Infrastructure Fund, which is designed to unlock 200,000 new homes in areas of high demand. With the Government committed to building 300,000 new homes a year by the mid-2020s, this funding is essential in ensuring that development is sustainable.

Finally, at last year’s Party Conference, with James Brokenshire as our Secretary of State, came the announcement that I had lobbied for my whole political career: the abolition of the Housing Revenue Account (HRA) borrowing cap. This simple measure, which will allow councils to borrow to build new social housing, means that local government is at last able to fully play its part in tackling the national housing shortage.

James also oversaw the creation of the Brexit Local Government Delivery Board, bring together senior LGA councillors and Ministers from across Whitehall. As we approach the 31st of October, the Board is becoming increasingly influential within Whitehall.

When I stood down as LGA Chairman, I was delighted to be succeeded by another Conservative, Cllr James Jamieson, the Leader of Central Bedfordshire and the Leader of the Conservative Group at the LGA. James was replaced as Leader by Izzi Secombe. Whilst most of us were able to take a break over the Summer, James and Izzi were busy in Westminster holding meetings with a range of new Ministers, including our new MHCLG Secretary of State, Robert Jenrick, to lobby for the LGA’s key asks ahead of the recent Spending Round.

Their efforts were rewarded with the announcement in the Spending Round of £3.5 billion in funding for local services, the largest year on year real-terms increase in spending power in over a decade. This included £1.5 billion for adult social care and £700 million for children and young people with special educational needs, two key cost pressure areas.

So the main lesson that I took from my four years as LGA Chairman is a very simple one: when Conservatives in local and central government work together, we improve lives and achieve the best results for our communities. With James and Izzi, the LGA is in safe hands, and I wish them all the best for what promises to be another eventful and dramatic political year.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Tony Devenish: Having a Prime Minister who understands how local government works is hugely welcome

Tony Devenish is a member of the London Assembly for West Central.

Even his fiercest detractors could hardly deny that the first few weeks of Boris Johnson’s premiership has sent a much-needed jolt of energy through British politics. It is almost as though a blonde hurricane has swept through Downing Street, with a new-look cabinet, a robust approach to the Brexit negotiations, and radical policies on infrastructure, policing, and education all in a month’s work for our new premier.

Johnson’s fresh leadership style, combined with these new announcements, and the ongoing Brexit psychodrama means that the news agenda has rapidly reached full capacity. There is little room for anything else, especially “unsexy” issues like local government. When was the last time you saw a story about the Government’s approach to our local councils elevated to the top of the news headlines?

The noise of the 24-hour news cycle has so far distracted from the fact that the new Government could quietly become a great reforming administration when it comes to local government – not least because is crammed full of highly capable individuals who are well regarded amongst council leaders.

First, the main man himself. For more than a decade Johnson has been a politician with a global reach, so it is easy to forget that for eight years he ran a regional authority. Listen to Johnson for any length of time and it becomes clear that his time as Mayor of London has had a profound impact on his politics. Having someone as Prime Minister who understands how local government works and appreciates the challenges faced by local authorities should be warmly welcomed by councillors and members of devolved authorities like me and even Johnson’s successor as Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan.

No Prime Minister is an island and each premier will rely heavily on their Downing Street team. In Johnson’s case, Sir Eddie Lister, his Chief of Staff, will provide much of the strategic direction within Number 10. Few people are more respected than Sir Eddie in local government circles, after all, he was Johnson’s right-hand man at City Hall and the successful leader of the legendary Wandsworth Council from 1992 to 2011. Sir Eddie has lived and breathed housing issues having been Chairman of Homes England – the Government’s “housing accelerator” – where he presided over a jump in housing supply (housing supply increased from 124,000 in 2012/13 to 222,000 in 2017/18). There can be little doubt that Sir Eddie will be a friend to local government.

Along with Robert Jenrick – the new Secretary of State for Local Government and the first ever cabinet minister born in the 1980s – we have a first-rate local government team at the very top of the tree. They are well placed to put in place a series of changes which could make our local authorities work better for real people.

Here are just a few modest suggestions for the new Government which could make a big difference:


Getting more homes built will undeniably at the top of the Government’s to-do list – especially in London and the South East.

Finally getting to grips with public sector land banking should be an absolute priority for MHCLG. For too long, swathes of publicly owned land has simply sat vacant while people have been crying out for affordable new homes. The Government needs to scrap the bureaucratic hurdles to dealing with land banking and force public bodies to shift this land to either housing associations or the private sector for development within a time line.

Rumours that the Prime Minister is planning to drastically raise the threshold for paying stamp duty are very encouraging. Along with expanding housing supply, this move would be a game changer for aspiring homeowners – especially in London – who simply cannot afford the costs of buying a home of their own. This, in turn, should incentivise developers to build more affordable homes and keep rents from increasing.

Public sector efficiency

With many public sector leaders on a larger salary than the Prime Minister, our public authorities should be consistently and unfailingly offering excellent value for money. Unfortunately in many cases this simply isn’t happening, but a few changes could have a transformative impact on the efficiency of the public sector. For example, public sector bodies should be encouraged to drop the assumption that eliminating fixed term contracts and shifting all staff onto permanent contacts (which include a gold-plated pension) is always the prudent thing to do.

Increasing efficiency doesn’t have to come off the back of yet another big local government re-structure. Frankly, authorities have had enough of re-organisation mania and it’s time to allow local leaders the space they need to get the best out of their teams. A longer-term funding package would be welcome so that authorities have the ability to plan ahead in a more effective way.

Social care

Reforming our social care system has stalled as a result of Brexit, but this doesn’t change the fact that this issue desperately needs addressing. If Westminster doesn’t have the capacity, let local government lead on this issue. There is no reason why first-class local leaders like West Midlands Mayor Andy Street, with their first-hand experience of the social care system, shouldn’t lead on the forthcoming Green Paper. This would also help to win over cross-party support

Conservatives instinctively believe in pushing power downwards and outwards to Edmund Burke’s “little platoons”. This Government now has a golden opportunity to spread this enthusiasm, and get people talking about the importance of local government delivery again.

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Penny Mordaunt: We must reunify the country – and MPs can start by helping, not hindering, Brexit

Penny Mordaunt is MP for Portsmouth North, and is a former Defence Secretary and International Development Secretary. Dan Hodges will be interviewing her about this article at the Big Ideas Tent Festival later today.

I told an elderly constituent that I was going to a “Big Tent event” this weekend.

“Big Ted?”, she replied. “Teddy Boys?”

“No.” I said. “A……Big……TENT..ER” I replied.

“You going camping?”

“No”, I said. “It’s in London and it’s not that sort of tent.”

“Oh, I see. So it’s like a music festival! Like the Isle of Wight?”

“No”, I said. “It’s not that sort of festival. We’re going to talk about politics stuff like Brexit and Trump.”

“Oh, I am sorry”, she said. “Well maybe it’ll be raining and it will be cancelled”.

Doris is wise. She tells you a lot about the way people think about politics these days. They hate the fighting and the hysterics. Nobody wants to hear it any more. It’s a big turn off.

So let’s clear up a few things right away. There’s a lot we all agree on.

We love our country. We love our union. We love our democracy. We love our monarchy. We all love a good takeaway. And the thing we take really seriously is our cricket. There weren’t any Brexiteers or Remainers watching Ben Stokes score his century. Just some very proud people.

So let’s be clear about a few things.

Democracy won’t die if a Prime Minister prorogues Parliament. It will though if we lose sight of what unites us. It will if we lose respect, plurality of thought and the ability to think critically.

So hang on to your hats, I’m about to say something controversial.

I think that we will look back on this part of our history with pride.

I know commentators and many of the public are exasperated. That other nations look on smugly smirking at “what a state” we are in. I know individuals and business have been poorly served – and we must deliver certainty to them all soon.

Yes, you want to throw things at the telly every time some of our fellow citizens appear, telling us we have collectively lost our minds, or to play the glockenspiel in protest in the background of the 10pm news.

I know MPs have not covered themselves in glory. That the very idea of referenda brings you out in a rash. And I know many of you, sensible, practically minded folk are just exhausted at the relentless argy-bargy, irrational hysteria from all sides.

But I stand by what I say. The fact that we had the courage to put the question. That we trusted the public to decide. That despite the complexity, the difficulty, the opposition, we as a nation are determined to deliver. We were right to hold a referendum. What else could have resolved the distinct unease so many in our country felt at being part of the EU on its current trajectory? We have tested our political and legal institutions to the hilt, and yet they remain strong. The fact that so many people who voted to remain in the EU accepted the result because they trust in those institutions.

Well, that’s a great thing. And we are a great country.

But I know it has been painful. We’ve lost a little pride and trust in each other. And that’s damaging for our politics and all we want to achieve as a nation. So how do we move past the division and the anger? How to we restore pride in ourselves, pride that is necessary if we are to have the ambition and confidence, we will need post Brexit? How do we remake ourselves?

The Big Ideas Tent Festival – a cross-party and no-party initiative spearheaded by George Freeman – takes place this weekend. Its goal is to bring people together to talk about the things we all care about. I hope all have a great day, but also that it will serve as a timely reminder to MPs who reconvene next week to focus less on Punch and Judy protest and more on the substance of the issue before us. It is incumbent on all of us – not just the Prime Minister – to show leadership at this time. And exiting the EU in a way which is best for the UK must be part of a programme to swiftly restore the standing of our politics and trust and confidence in each other.

We have that opportunity next week.

There is talk of parliamentary gymnastics to stop a No Deal, while the clock ticks down to precisely that. Have we learnt nothing? If you don’t want to leave without a deal, then you need to get one.

If we focus on that real issue, and the outcome I think most MPs want to see, then our actions could be the start of restoring that pride and trust.

The nation needs us to deliver on the referendum. I know the chap outside Parliament with the glockenspiel doesn’t, nor do those MPs who want to stop any form of Brexit. But a majority voted for it and an even larger majority wants us to get it done. So if, like me, you hope to do better than parting on WTO terms or in a disorderly way, can I suggest that we all focus our efforts on ensuring we secure a deal.

There’s not been much commentary on the chances of a deal, but there is a good chance. It is, and has always been, manifestly in the interests of EU member states that the UK secures one. Commissioners recognise, and have said, that they know they must compromise further to give the UK Parliament an acceptable arrangement. There is no practical impediment to it. It’s a matter of political will. It’s a matter of good will.

I’ve been struck that those objecting to the Prime Minister’s latest move only seem to talk of being able to debate Brexit or stop no Brexit. Not a pip-squeak about the time it may take to get a deal negotiated and passed through both Houses.

All efforts should be on that task. It’ll be a challenge in the timeframe, even if the starting point for it is the Withdrawal Agreement.

So next week MPs’ true motivations will be laid bare. Shall we triangulate against the new Prime Minister for political advantage? Shall we prevent the will of the people being delivered? Shall we assert we’ve “no mandate for No Deal” ignoring that 17.4 million voted to “leave the EU” – no ifs, no buts? Do so and your true motives or susceptibility to Westminster group-think will be laid bare.

Instead of the theatre of staging an alternative parliament, why not spend some time persuading your EU sister parties of the merits of an amicable settlement?

Instead of blocking highways and by-ways, why not help organise your local EU citizens to write to the governments of their member states?

Instead of describing just how ghastly you think your Parliamentary representatives are, why not think how you might resolve this moment of crisis without creating another?

If you really can’t face helping Brexit in any form perhaps you could speak to the Commission about the unease felt by the British people about the EU’s current trajectory, and how they might reform? Or persuade them that an implementation period is a good idea, as it would be for those who want the UK to have second thoughts? Or apply pressure on both sides to give EU and British citizens working here and in Europe the certainty they need?

And press the Prime Minister on the timetable for a newly negotiated deal to pass Parliament before 31st October.

We’re all responsible for what happens next. Help or hinder, the choice is ours.

If we work together, we can and will repay the trust the public still have in Parliament. If we manage a good Brexit against this backdrop it will not only be a great thing, it will be an historic thing.

It will give hope to others and confidence in ourselves. Our determination to make a success of it, against all the odds, should send a clear message to all that we are a great nation capable of determined acts to consciously chart our way in the world. That sort of behaviour has marked our history and it will our future, too. We will stand on our own for what we believe to be right, and we trust in democracy, whatever the cost. Because the politicians couldn’t decide, we thought we’d ask the people. And they told us.

There are those who see the future of British politics as a fight between two forms of populism – left and right. That’s not inevitable. If we are to have a richer, more capable form of politics, then Brexit is a necessary but not sufficient condition.

Our political parties must remain broad churches. Big tents, shall we say!

We need debate and competing ideas, but also cooperation and respect for each other. The narrative that sees all conservatives as evil, or all socialists as daft, must be rejected. We should do this by setting agreeing the national missions that can unite our nation.

The Prime Minister is seeking a consensus on social care. Perhaps he does not want to make it an election issue, perhaps he recognises he needs to build support to get any enabling legislation through Parliament. And perhaps he may recognise that on these big issues they require public buy in and a long-term approach. I do not know his motivations, but he is right to tackle the issue swiftly and he is right to seek buy-in from others.

But if this is right could not the same be said for other areas of policy?

The future of the railways?

How about a new economic model based on housing?

What about defence procurement, which can take decades?

And if that is the case for domestic policy, surely it is doubly true of our foreign policy.

Our stance towards partner nations. Or major global challenges such as climate change and plastic pollution.

Building a consensus especially across party lines would seem a sensible thing to do, yet it is rarely mooted except in exceptional times.

There have been attempts to explicitly build a political narrative around this approach, such as Blair’s third way, but that had more to do with the Labour Party’s internal strife than bringing the nation together.

Holding the centre ground has long been seen as the way to win elections. But the centre is not just a place to win from, it’s a place to deliver from, too.

The only way to create, the growth, the focus, the long-term new investment, the sustained effort and understanding to address the challenges and seize the opportunities of our times is to create national missions the whole country can get behind.

Take the example of social care. Our goal should surely be that every one of our citizens can live in dignity and be supporting to live a meaningful and fulfilled life. A way of raising new funding isn’t all that is required. Care systems for older people are linked to care for children and adults of working age. They are linked to potential employment rights for carers, how local authorities can commission services to promote innovation and quality, or their policies on council tax discounts and planning so that it is easier for people to take care of their relatives at home, the support of the third sector, a culture of caring as well as skills in a valued and appropriately remunerated workforce and new technical innovation. To get everyone who can contribute to that we need understanding of what the nation is trying to do over and beyond budgetary cycles, or parliaments and governments.

People want politicians from across the divide to work together. They want us to agree on more, in part because they want reassurance in an increasingly complex and troublesome world.

Gone are the days when all keeping themselves safe required was for them to lock the front door.  People are feeling more and more powerless. But being told they are more and more responsible.

As we grapple with issues of terrorism, Huawei, global warming, a potential repeat of the financial collapse, and the challenges of AI and new technology, then a consensus from your elected representatives is rather reassuring.

No wonder organisations like Onward are pointing out the importance of security and belonging to voters, not just freedom and choice. They want us to make the right call on issues which affect their lives. They want us to do a good job.

Despite everything, and their disappointment, the people have faith still in our democracy.

So, we must not let those who have put their faith in us down.

Democracy isn’t under threat from a Prime Minister who will prorogue parliament, or a Queen who consents to it.  It is under threat from a lack of responsibility and an absence of critical thinking from many in public life.

That is why the Big Tent is such an important initiative. And why the actions of MPs next week could have huge ramifications for politics in years to come.

So, next week lets help not hinder. Let’s get a good Brexit done. Let’s end the toxic tribalism affecting our parties and our politics and start the healing.

We don’t have to all agree. We just have to respect plurality of thought, each other and the results of referenda.

Next year, I may bring Doris with me to the Big Tent.  I like to think she’d enjoy hearing about the things that unify rather than divide us.

Whenever I think about what I do, I sometimes ask myself, would Doris be proud?

And by this time next year, do you know? I think she would.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Adam Honeysett-Watts: After three years of gloom under May, it’s time for fun with Johnson

Adam Honeysett-Watts is Director of Conservatives in Communications and works in the financial technology sector. 

Before this leadership election got underway, I wrote that the next leader must be able to tell the Tory story – of aspiration and opportunity – and identified Boris Johnson as the person best-positioned to do that.

Having previously supported David Cameron and then Theresa May, I like to think I back winners – at least, in terms of those who reach the top. That said, while the former will be remembered for rescuing the economy – while giving people the power to marry who they love and an overdue say on Europe – the latter, much to my disappointment, has no real legacy. Johnson should avoid repeating that mistake.

His final column for the Daily Telegraph, ‘Britain must fire-up its sense of mission’, was jam-packed with the kind of Merry England* (or Merry UK) optimism that we experienced during the Cricket World Cup and that the whole country needs right now: “They went to the Moon 50 years ago. Surely today we can solve the logistical issues of the Irish border”. Quite right.

You’ve guessed it, I’m chuffed that Conservative MPs, media and members supported Johnson’s bid to become our Prime Minister. I’m looking forward to May handing him the keys to Number Ten and him batting for us after three, long years of doom and gloom. Sure, optimism isn’t everything – but it can set the tone. A detailed vision must be articulated and executed by a sound team.

Whichever side you were on before the referendum (or are on now), in the short term, we need to redefine our purpose, move forward with our global partners, unite the UK – and defeat Corbynism.

Mid-term, we should invest further in our national security and technology, improving education and life chances and encouraging greater participation in culture and sport, as well as boosting home ownership. Plus the odd tax cut here and there would be well-advised.

However, we must not put off having debates – for fear of offending – about controlling immigration and legalising drugs, and about funding for health and social care, as well as protecting the environment, for these issues matter and will matter even more in the future.

We should also avoid the temptation to ban political expression, alternative media and sugary foods, and celebrate instead free speech, press freedom and the right to choose.

Again, I look forward to Johnson peddling optimism and hope that people get behind him, because, ultimately, he will write our next chapter – and if we jump onboard and provide support, much more can be achieved by us all working together.

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Iain Mansfield: Brexit by October 31. Stop using the Left’s language. And stand for skilled workers. Essentials for our next Prime Minister

Iain Mansfield is a former senior civil servant, winner of the Institute of Economic Affairs Brexit prize and a Conservative councillor candidate. He writes in a personal capacity.

Our next Prime Minister will take office at the most challenging time since the 1970s. Not only is there Brexit – an issue of fundamental national importance, that has destroyed the last two Prime Ministers and poses an existential challenge to the future of the Conservative Party – but the old political assumptions are changing. Across the West, traditional voter coalitions are shifting, as citizens reject centrist compromises. Flatlining productivity, unaffordable houses and millions of voters feeling abandoned, either culturally or economically, are just some of the challenges they will face.

Many of those who voted for David Cameron in 2010 are lost to the party, alienated by Brexit. In Britain today, age and education level are better predictors of a person’s vote than class. To win a general election, our next Prime Minister must forge a new coalition of voters that unites the traditional Tory shires with the left-behind Leave voters in the Midlands and North. Even more importantly, they must deliver authentic right-wing policies that address the causes of ordinary working people’s dissatisfaction. People want change and, if the Conservative Party does not deliver it, they are likely to seek answers in the flawed blandishments of Jeremy Corbyn’s socialism.

In that context, there are three essentials that our next Prime Minister must prioritise for the good of the people, the nation and the party:

  • Leave the EU by 31 October, on WTO terms if needed.
  • Openly champion conservative values rather than speaking the language of the left.
  • Reposition the party as the natural home of the skilled working and lower middle classes.

Leave the EU by 31 October, on WTO terms if needed

Not only is delivering on the outcome of the referendum a democratic imperative, it is vital for the continued existence of the party. Recent polling shows that, if we have not left the EU, the Conservatives are likely to suffer devastating losses in a general election; these figures could be even worse if large numbers of members, councillors or even entire associations defect to the Brexit Party. Many members have held on over the last few months purely out of hope that the next Prime Minister would deliver where May failed: another betrayal in October would see these members permanently lost.

Leaving with a deal is preferable, if some changes to the backstop can be agreed and Parliament will pass it. If not, as I have argued previously on this site, we have nothing to fear from No Deal. Preparations for such should be put into top gear on the first day in office. The Prime Minister must make clear that they will under no circumstances ask for an extension; and that they are, if needed, prepared to systematically veto any measure put forward by the EU on regular business if the UK is for some reason kept in. While every effort should be made to secure a deal, if it cannot be reached, Parliament must be faced with the simple choice of permitting a WTO exit or voting no confidence in the Prime Minister – a gamble, admittedly, but one that is preferable to another disastrous extension.

Openly champion conservative values rather than speaking the language of the left

In recent years too many Conservative politicians have allowed our opponents to define the playing field. We cannot beat the socialists by adopting the language and assumptions of socialism. Our next Prime Minister must stop feeding the narrative of identity, grievance and division, with its assumption that an individual’s potential is defined by their characteristics, that so-called ‘burning injustices’ are solely the responsibility of the state to address, and that the government always no best.

Changing the narrative will be a long endeavour. The systematic appointment of those with conservative values into key ministerially appointed positions; an authentically right-wing approach to policy making in Whitehall; and the withdrawal of state funding from the network of organisations that maintain the left’s grip on the policy narrative are essential. But over and above this, the Prime Minister must be willing to personally stand up and champion individual liberties and freedoms; to condemn progressive authoritarianism and to be visibly proud of Britain, our culture and the rich global heritage of our citizens.

Reposition the party as the natural home of the skilled working and lower middle classes

Young, metropolitan graduates may once have been natural Conservatives, but no longer. There is little hope of reversing this in the immediate aftermath of Brexit. Instead of squandering our effort here, our new Prime Minister should instead make the party the natural home of the skilled working and lower middle classes, particularly in the midlands and north.

Such voters have a natural affinity to the traditional conservative values of low tax and individual liberty, but also greatly value and rely day-to-day onn strong public services. This places the Conservatives in a difficult position after a decade of austerity: Labour made hay campaigning on cuts to police numbers and falls in per pupil spending in 2017. But how to fund significant increases in core services without raising taxes or alienating core Conservative voters, such as via the disastrous proposals on social care in the 2017 manifesto?

To find the funding the next Prime Minister must be bold enough to slay the progressive sacred cows that soak up billions annually in public funding. Three immediately spring to mind:

With the additional £15 billion plus a year, the Prime Minister could at a stroke increase police funding by 25 per cent (£3 billion), boost school funding per pupil by 20 per cent (£8 billion) and increase spending on social care by 20 per cent (£4 billion). And then split the proceeds of further growth between public services and tax cuts.

As well as this, we should champion the interests of the high street, enterprise and small businesses and oppose crony corporatism. Multinational companies that make use of aggressive tax avoidance, abuse their market position or actively work against UK sovereignty should not enjoy government grants, procurement or time in No. 10. Fundamentally, our next Prime Minister should spend more time listening to the Federation of Small Businesses and less time listening to the CBI.


As members, we have two candidates set before us. Both are able politicians and tested leaders who represent the best the Parliamentary party has to offer. As we assess who should be not just our next leader, but our Prime Minister, we should do so against their ability to deliver these vital elements.

Both have committed to delivering Brexit by October 31 – but which one has the ability, the genuine will and the courage to do so by any means necessary? Both are true-blue Conservatives – but which one will truly champion our values, taking the battle to our adversaries with the eloquence and conviction of a Thatcher or a Churchill? Both recognise the importance of reaching out to new voters – but which one can devise and push through the policies needed to unite the Tory shires with the Leave voters of the north? Consider carefully and cast your vote.

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Damian Green: Greater funding for social care requires a frank discussion with voters about priorities

Damian Green is MP for Ashford, and is a former Secretary of State for Work and Pensions.

Whoever the new Prime Minister is (full disclosure: I’m a Boris Johnson supporter), they will need a lively domestic agenda to complement the final throes of this stage of Brexit. Which will mean tackling some of the burning injustices which were identified but not addressed by the outgoing administration. The grasping of social care must be an urgent priority.

For many years social care and its funding has been one of the most difficult subjects in British politics. In 2010, the Labour proposals were condemned by Conservatives as a Death Tax, and Labour were out. What goes around comes around, and in 2017 our own ideas, more generous than the existing system, were badged the Dementia Tax, and dreams of a large majority disappeared overnight.

It is one of the most personal issues possible, as many individuals suddenly find themselves having to provide a decent quality of life to a loved one with no proper guidance about how to do it, and what their entitlements are.

At the same time it is financially demanding. Essentially, the vast majority of people agree that we need to spend more on social care. Simultaneously, they are insistent that they should not themselves pay any extra tax. We need a serious national conversation about this (not staring in mid-campaign) and must face up to some unpalatable truths.

The current social care system is unsustainable not just financially but politically. It is too often opaque to those trying to understand it, with no apparent logic to the conditions which receive free NHS treatment, and those which do not. It is also apparently unfair in not rewarding a lifetime of prudence. Those who have saved feel that their savings will simply disappear, while those who have not saved receive the same level of care.

Less well-known is the fact that funding social care out of council tax means that local authorities are reluctant to allow too many care homes to be built. An ageing population means that already more than two fifths of council spending goes on social care. This figure will only increase over the years, so councils are fearful that all their other services will be swamped by the rising demands of the social care system.

The failures in social care put unnecessary extra pressure on the NHS. Indeed, the new, generous funding plan for the NHS depends on the assumption that we develop a social care system which keeps people out of hospital longer and discharges them in a smooth and timely fashion.

I recently published a paper for the Centre for Policy Studies “Fixing the Care Crisis” which dealt specifically with the problem of care for older people. There is at least as big a problem for working age people who need care, but let’s deal with one problem at a time.

A new system will need to meet four objectives. It will need to provide enough money to cope with an ageing population. It will need to be fair across generations and between individuals, ensuring that no one has to sell their own home, and ending the “dementia lottery”. It must lead to an increase in the supply of care beds and retirement housing. And ideally it should secure cross-party consensus.

We should look as a model to the pension system, where the basic State Pension has been increased significantly, while at the same time most people save additionally through their working years to provide comfort and security in old age. Auto-enrolment has been a great cross-party success story, encouraging millions more to save towards extra security in old age. The benefits will not come for decades, but they will be huge when they arrive.

Similarly, just as the basic State Pension has been improved in recent years I believe we should offer a Universal Care Entitlement, offering a better level of care both for homecare and residential care. For those who need residential care this would cover the core residential costs. Needs would be assessed locally but the money would come from central Government. This would take away the pressures on local councils.

Will this involve extra money? Of course it will. My estimate in the CPS paper is that providing decent care in this way would involve an extra £2.5 billion extra a year immediately, with increasing amounts as the demographics change over the years. Others put the figure higher. This is serious money, but not a big problem for the Treasury to find to improve a vital service. Any suggestions for an increase in tax or National Insurance will be controversial, as I have found, but politicians need to be honest about this. If the public want extra spending, the Government will have to raise more money to pay for it.

In addition, we need to find an acceptable way to allow those with the capacity to improve their own provision to do so. This would come through a Care Supplement, a new form of insurance designed specifically to fund more extensive care costs in old age.

This is analogous to the private pension system, which sits alongside the state system. It would allow people to buy insurance at the level they can afford to provide peace of mind. It would not be compulsory, (as pension auto-enrolment is not compulsory) so could not be stigmatised as a Death Tax or Dementia Tax. People could save for it over many years or make a one-off payment (possibly using equity release) at a suitable time in their lives.

These ideas would take the burden of social care funding away from local authorities, and even more importantly offer certainty and security to the increasing numbers who will need social care in old age. No one would have to sell their house and see their inheritance disappear. Everyone would have the chance of receiving better care. Fewer people would be left unnecessarily in hospital beds as they wait for social care to be available.

None of this is easy and it will take political courage. But it absolutely necessary if we are to provide peace of mind and security to frail elderly people who richly deserve it.

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Jacob Rees-Mogg: Why I believe that the NHS should cover social care

Jacob-Rees Mogg is MP for North East Somerset.

A proposal to solve the social care issue was one of the reasons for the Conservatives’ dismal performance at the last election. There has long been a need to develop a system – but that it had such stark electoral consequences is a reminder of the sensitivity of any policy solutions, though bringing it forward it showed how serious the issue is.

The current system does not work. It is arbitrary. Families argue with the authorities as to what part of care is medical and what is social and diseases of old age, especially dementia, seem to be excluded, at least in part. This leaves some families with bills of tens of thousands of pounds each year, potentially for many years, while those with heart disease or cancer will see all the costs fall on the state. This principle of health provision free at the point of use is one of the main stays of the British welfare state. It provides security for all of us if certain types of illness hit, but leaves the failure to provide social care, that has crossed a narrow boundary from medical care, appear all the more unfair.

Not only is there an arbitrariness in the definition but the rules of who pays what are complex and problematic. Council budgets take the strain for social care but the NHS for medical, which leads to people spending too long in hospital. All the while, budgets are argued over and higher-cost hospital beds remain occupied by people who ought to be elsewhere – possibly, with a little support, even back in their own homes.

Once the bureaucracy has determined the fall of costs, the ways that these fall on individuals are equally complex. Quite rightly, an individual who shares a home will not normally be expected to see the value of the property taken into account. Yet, the frail, elderly parent who has been looked after by a child for ten years who then spends the last year of their life in a home could see the family property taken, whereas if the child had moved in it would not be. Complex charging rules inevitably lead to the system falling harshly on some and not on others, contributing to changes in behaviour.

It is, perhaps, easy to set out the problem but less so the solution. An ageing population and the growing complexities of care make the costs high and move from self-paying to government-paying increases demand. This is an iron law of economics – there is more demand for something that is free. So why is Warwick Lightfoot of Policy Exchange right to say that the state must take on this burden?

It is the role of the state to save and shelter us from the overwhelming problem. The cost of long-term social care is more than all but the super-rich can easily afford, and the risk of it falls indiscriminately. The majority of families will not be hit in this way, but some will be hit completely.

It is also a continuation of the NHS principle of care free at the point of use: any constituency MP will have helped constituents argue what proportion of care is NHS and free and what is social, so paid.

Additionally, the cost, though high, is affordable if it is a priority. Lightfoot’s paper suggests £11 billion, but there would be some savings from the NHS budget as beds are freed up, reducing the misallocation of resources. The ONS has recently revised up the nation’s GDP to £2.2 trillion so this is 0.5 per cent of national income, a significant but not disproportionate amount to provide for the needs of the most vulnerable elderly.

To prevent a spiralling of costs, it is important to keep an affordable element of co-payment: £5000 per year seems to strike the right balance. Families would still have an incentive to keep their elderly relations at home, avoiding the probably vast cost of all this care falling on the state. However, once this amount had been spent, the rest of the base cost would fall on taxpayers, although families would be free to buy extra services and the supply would continue to be from private operators as no one wants to go back to council-run nursing homes.

There are some things that ought to fall on central taxation, and it is anomalous that social care does not, especially when the individual cost is potentially ruinous. It has become a near 100 per cent wealth or inheritance tax that falls randomly on an unlucky few. It is, therefore, a risk that it makes sense to pool but, with no insurance available, it is an area where it is right and fair for the state to step in.

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Mark Harper: Our social care policy should be more ambitious

Mark Harper is MP for the Forest of Dean, a former Chief Whip, and former Minister for Disabled People.

When social care is discussed in the media or in Parliament, the conversation almost always focuses on the needs of older people. What is not widely known is that just over half of the adult social care budget in England is actually spent, not on older people, but on working age adults with some form of disability. And I am going to talk about both.

A lot of the discussion on social care for older people is about how it is paid for, that is to say how you split the cost between the individual and the taxpayer. That is because many older people will have accumulated significant assets by the time they need social care, and it is reasonable that the cost is shared between them and the taxpayer. The debate is about the balance between the two.

For the last two years, the Government has been talking about how to fund social care. However, the Dilnot Commission in 2011 confirmed that the public agreed that the cost of social care for older people should be shared between the individual and the taxpayer.

We have already put down the foundations for some of the recommendations from Dilnot in primary legislation with the Care Act 2014. All that remains is to draft the secondary legislation to put the figure for the cap in. This could be done very quickly – taking action beats more talking.

Britain has a proud record of being a leading country on enabling disabled people to be more independent and get into work. I am familiar with this policy area because I was the Shadow Minister for Disabled People for almost three years, between 2007 and 2010, and the Minister for Disabled People between 2014 and 2015.

In our 2017 general election manifesto, we set out an ambition to get a million more disabled people into employment over ten years. That is the right direction of travel, but I would like to see us be more ambitious about both the destination and the speed with which we intend to reach it.

I have a suggestion: perhaps we should re-adopt the commitment we made in our 2015 manifesto that ‘we will aim to halve the disability employment gap’. The Social Market Foundation has said that the 2015 commitment would see between 200,000 to 500,000 extra disabled people in work compared to our 2017 promise. In the interests of transparency, I should explain that, as the Minister for Disabled People in the run up to the 2015 election, I may have had a hand in drafting said manifesto commitment myself!

The Social Care Green Paper offers an opportunity to set out some of the Government’s thinking and some of the options it has for action for working age adults with some form of disability. Publishing it would kick off the necessary debate about the right solutions. The Government would have an opportunity to listen to valuable feedback from disabled people, expert organisations involved in this field and the wider public. It would then be able to set out specific actions it is going to take, legislating where necessary. The sooner we begin, the sooner we can see real change taking place and the sooner disabled people will feel the benefit.

I chair the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Learning Disability, and recently chaired a joint meeting with eight other relevant APPGs to talk about what we wanted to see in the Green Paper. This meeting was attended by a number of disabled people and campaigners for change. A summary of the meeting will shortly be sent to the Health and Social Care Secretary.

One clear theme that emerged was to see better joined-up working between the social care, health, and welfare systems. There is quite a lot of support available already, but it does not always work well together as a package. For example, if someone acquires a disability, the rest of their life (their work, their family) keeps going at the same pace but things can go wrong because the support they need, like social care, home adaptations, and financial help, do not get going quickly enough.

The funding of social care for working age adults is very different from funding social care for older people, as they often have few, if any, assets. Any kind of means testing for social care support for them runs the risk of creating further barriers to getting into work.

Looking at the system overall, there may be areas where an increase in spending is required but that may lead to savings elsewhere. For example, more resources available to enable somebody to work is likely to lead to better health outcomes as well as that person making a financial contribution to the public finances.

Conservatives want to enable disabled people to live their lives as independently as possible to reach their full potential. We should be ambitious about our commitments, so I would like to see us improve our goal for getting more disabled people into work, reverting to the better target we had in our 2015 general election manifesto. We need to see more effective joined up working between the social care, health, and welfare systems. To that end, publishing the Social Care Green Paper now would kick off the necessary debate. There are millions of disabled people in our country who will welcome us gripping this issue and making rapid progress to deliver real improvements to their lives.

And for those older people needing social care, swift implementation of a cap as recommended by the Dilnot Commission would lead to a much fairer system.

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