Theresa May’s reforms of adult social care announced at the last election – and dubbed the “dementia tax” by critics – were “wrong”, the health secretary has said.
He told Sky’s Sophy Ridge On Saturday that the strategy would include a £5bn injection of funding to meet short-term needs and a move to seek cross-party consensus for a long-term solution.
While Mr Hancock said the Tories would be “open-minded” about some of the details, a red line would be removing the need for some people to sell their homes to pay for care.
“That injustice should be tackled rather than made worse,” he said.
“That’s why we’ve made that principle clear and then I look forward to engaging with other parties on how we put it into practice.”
Two years ago, Mrs May unveiled her blueprint for adult social care.
The former prime minister’s plan involved changing the system so that the value of an individual’s home would be taken into account regardless of where someone received care.
But critics said the new system would have affected far more people and would have meant those with the most complex needs facing sky-high costs.
They also claimed that the reforms would have stopped people being able to pass their homes down to their children.
Mrs May later U-turned on the plans, infamously declaring that “nothing has changed” despite the climbdown.
Mr Hancock, who was a culture minister at the time, made clear that he disagreed with the policy.
“The idea that you then have your home taken away from you because you suffered from dementia when somebody else who suffered from a different condition didn’t lose their home, I think that is a bad place for society to get to and I want to fix it,” he said.
“The proposal that was put forward in the manifesto in 2017, of course politicos can debate the impact it had on the election, I’ve certainly got my views.
“But I also think it was the wrong policy. I don’t want more people losing their homes to pay for care.”
When it was put to him that the new funding did not make up for the £7.7bn cut from the social care budget since 2010, Mr Hancock said funding had been rising since 2015.
“Of course savings had to be made,” he continued.
“But I’m glad we’ve now been able to increase the amount of money that’s going towards social care, including £1bn two months ago, which means that with this commitment we’re making we can stabilise the current system and we’re putting our money where our mouth is, so to speak.
“But we’ve also got to have that long-term solution and we’re laying out our principles and the way we want to tackle it.”
As well as the pledge to act on adult social care, the Tories have announced plans to double investment into dementia research to more than £1.6bn over the next decade.
Mr Hancock said there is “hope on the horizon” for being able to find a cure.
The health secretary also said home visits by GPs will continue, despite family doctors saying they no longer have the capacity to provide them.
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