Adult social care funding reform: developments since July 2019 (England)

This House of Commons Library briefing paper provides a summary of developments concerning the reform of adult social care since Boris Johnson became Prime Minister in July 2019. It applies to England only.

The Government’s current position, as outlined in the Conservative Party’s 2019 general election manifesto, is that it will seek a cross-party consensus in order to bring forward proposals for reform of how people pay for adult social care. A prerequisite of the proposals will be that “no one needing care has to sell their home to pay for it.”

In January 2020, the Prime Minister stated that the Government would bring forward a plan “this year” and would “get it done within this Parliament.”

In March, the Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, began the process of seeking to build a cross party consensus by writing to MPs and peers to ask for their views, solutions and concerns about reforming the way people pay for their care. The letter stated that the Government planned to move to structured talks on reform options in May 2020.

However, in June, the Health Secretary suggested that, in light of the coronavirus outbreak, it was “not straightforward” to meet the meet the previously set timetable for the reform of adult social care funding. At the time of writing the cross party talks – originally planned for May 2020 – have not started, with the Government stating that they will take place “at the earliest opportunity in light of the current circumstances.”

In a speech on 30 June 2020, the Prime Minister stated that the Government “won’t wait to fix the problem of social care” and was “finalising[its] plans and…[would] build a cross party consensus.”