Boris Johnson promised to fix the social care crisis ‘once and for all’ as he stood on the steps of Downing Street yesterday.
In his first speech as Prime Minister, Mr Johnson vowed to protect elderly people from the ‘fear’ of having to sell their homes to pay sky-high care bills.
He claimed he had a clear plan of action to give every older person the ‘dignity and security they deserve’.
The bold announcement represents a victory for the Daily Mail’s campaign to end the dementia care scandal, which has attracted huge support since its launch last week. Charities welcomed Mr Johnson’s pledge to address a scandal that sees tens of thousands of dementia sufferers financially ruined because they have to fund the entire cost of their care.
New Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks to media outside Number 10, Downing Street
The new Prime Minister’s team did not reveal any details of his social care plan – but ideas include a state-backed insurance scheme to protect families from the highest bills, and a multi-billion-pound spending boost.
Mr Johnson said: ‘My job is to protect you or your parents or grandparents from the fear of having to sell your home to pay for the costs of care.
‘So I am announcing now – on the steps of Downing Street – that we will fix the crisis in social care once and for all with a clear plan we have prepared to give every older person the dignity and security they deserve.’
The pledge was just one measure in a policy blitz unveiled by the new PM. Mr Johnson also announced:
- Another 20,000 police officers to ‘make your streets safer’;
- A reduction in GP waiting times plus 20 new hospital upgrades;
- Changes to tax rules to incentivise investment in research;
- New road and rail infrastructure;
- Policies to make it easier for young people to buy homes;
- Increased per-pupil spending on education;
- Greater spending on space to promote British satellite systems;
- The end of rules which hamper genetically modified foods;
- Moves to promote animal welfare.
Last month, Mr Johnson’s supporter Matt Hancock set out plans for a state-backed insurance scheme to cover potentially ruinous care costs.
And he pledged a £3.5 billion cash injection to help stave off collapse in the social care system.
An unpublished green paper, which Health Secretary Mr Hancock had drawn up, is understood to have also suggested an auto-enrolment scheme akin to pensions, with people paying for their future care bills out of their pay packets. Caroline Abrahams, charity director at Age UK, said: ‘We are hugely encouraged that within a few minutes of taking office, our new Prime Minister has pledged to fix the crisis in social care. It also means that the debate can shift from “if” to “how”.
Care worker giving an old lady her dinner in her home (stock)
‘If Mr Johnson can make good on his pledge, he will deserve the heartfelt thanks of millions of disabled adults, older people and their carers, right across the country.’
Sally Copley, director of policy and campaigns at the Alzheimer’s Society, said: ‘It is hugely encouraging to hear the Prime Minister promise to fix the crisis in social care in his first address to the nation. This is a huge step forward for the Alzheimer’s Society’s Fix Dementia Care campaign and the Daily Mail’s dementia care costs campaign.’
But Richard Humphries, senior fellow at the King’s Fund, said: ‘Newly elected Tony Blair said much the same 22 years ago. Thus the history of social care funding reform enters a new and utterly delusional phase.’
Mr Johnson said yesterday: ‘My job is to make your streets safer – and we are going to begin with another 20,000 police on the streets, and we start recruiting forthwith. My job is to make sure you don’t have to wait three weeks to see your GP, and we start work this week with 20 new hospital upgrades, and ensuring that money for the NHS really does get to the front line.
‘My job is to make sure your kids get a superb education wherever they are in the country – and that’s why we have already announced that we are going to level up per-pupil funding in primary and secondary schools.’
He added: ‘Let’s change the tax rules to provide extra incentives to invest in capital and research.
‘And let’s promote the welfare of animals that has always been so close to the hearts of the British people.’
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