New care services minister Norman Lamb plans to bring in an independent arbiter to combat the Treasury’s resistance to providing greater funding for social care.
The Financial Times reports Lamb (pictured) believes the move would help ensure the implementation of Andrew Dilnot’s proposals to cap individual costs of care at around £35,000.
Dilnot’s social care reform was accepted by Government in July but ministers said funds to implement the plan had not yet been found. Prime minister David Cameron backed the principle of a cap over the summer but expressed concern over the £1.7bn annual price tag.
Lamb replaced fellow LibDem MP Paul Burstow who was removed from the role in this month’s ministerial reshuffle. In a parting shot Burstow blamed the Treasury for the lack of funding saying it had “no sense of urgency” and may abandon reforms.
Burstow said: “The Treasury’s view is simple, kick the can down the road despite our rising elderly population. There is no sense of urgency. No recognition that left unreformed there is no incentive for families to plan and prepare.
“In the view of mandarins there is no need for change, and certainly not yet”
The FT says Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg sees the social care reforms as high priority and has looked to Lamb to reach a solution. Lamb is thought to believe the pension commission headed by Lord Turner, could offer a template for funding the reforms, says the FT.