The way a society chooses to look after its most helpless and dependent members surely says much about it. And what the UK’s social care system says about Britain is that we are in a muddle.
Our society is ageing rapidly – by 2034, 23 per cent of us will be over 65. And yet somehow we continue to delay and muddle and put off making arrangements for how these people will be cared for, and who is going to pay for it. As Henry Featherstone points out on page ten, we’ve had two select committees and a Royal Commission look into the subject, we’ve had a whole cloud of reports, and yet no one can agree on what to do. Can the country afford to pay for the National Care Service that Andy Burnham wants (page six)? Or are politicians afraid to tell the public that it is going to have to look after itself?
A new commission on care and funding has been set up in the hope of finally untangling some of the confusion. Presumably, it hopes to find answers that other inquiries have missed. We all hope those answers exist.