The new care services minister Norman Lamb is concerned about the Dilnot proposal and the future of adult social care, stating he wants it resolved within months, not years.
At the Liberal Democrat conference yesterday, Lamb said that introducing the reform for social care funding could be a legacy for the government.
The Dilnot proposal will allow the pooling of the risks of ‘catastrophic' care costs, as high as £100,000, that will hit one in ten people.
He has insisted that the problem of funding needs to be resolved within months, and in particular with the Dilnot Commission's reforms, suggesting that it may require an independent facilitator to help find where the money will come from within the state, as the estimated cost is around £1.7bn
The government has decided it will back the Dilnot scheme but that no decision will be made on where the funding for it will come from before the next spending review.
The risk is that this just drifts on – the sector saying there's a need for reform, the sense of unfairness continues but nothing actually brings it to a head.
What I'm interested in exploring is whether we can create a mechanism over a short space of time to bring this to a conclusion, I'm talking about [a period of] months not years.
This issue transcends narrow party politics. It is the big reform that is yet to take place, it is very long overdue and there is a moment, and opportunity, to crack it, and I think there a responsibility on this government to crack it.
But I would like to do it as far as possible in a consensual way, a process that involves all the parties, that everyone can sign up to. Question: should some independent facilitator help to bring this to a conclusion? I would want to do this over a short space of time. Question: will the Treasury allow that sort of process to come up with recommendations? Treasury, of course, has to be responsible for the decision at a time of acute strain on our public finances. There has to be a complete discipline to how the government operates, and we have to respect that, but could there be a process that helps bring this to a conclusion?
We need to have a process that looks at the options and seeks to reach a conclusion, and I would prefer it to involve all the political parties so that everyone signs up to it.
In terms of the process I'm really just exploring, and I don't have a fixed mind on this at all, how we get from here to a conclusion.