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Short history of the social care Green Paper

The forthcoming Green Paper on social care for adults has been further delayed – it will now be published “at the first opportunity in 2019”.

In the March 2017 Budget, the Conservative Government said that it would publish a Green Paper on social care, in order to allow a public consultation to be held. This followed the decision in July 2015 to postpone the introduction of a cap on lifetime social care charges and a more generous means-test that had been proposed by the “Dilnot Commission” and accepted in principle by the then Coalition Government.

During the subsequent 2017 General Election campaign, the Conservative Party made a manifesto commitment to introduce the Green Paper as well as a number of pledges regarding how individuals pay for social care.

The publication of the Green Paper has been delayed several times: from an original publication date of “summer 2017” and then to “the end of” 2017, a revised timeframe of “before the summer [Parliamentary] recess” (i.e. 25th July 2018) was announced. In June 2018, the then Health and Social Care Secretary announced a further delay, to the “autumn” of 2018, following the announcement that a ten-year plan for the NHS would be developed; this was later tweaked to “before the end of the year”. It will now be published “at the first opportunity in 2019” according to reported comments from the Government – no further details were provided as to when in 2019 publication might occur.

The Government has said that the proposals in the Green Paper will “ensure that the care and support system is sustainable in the long term”. Other topics that the Government have said will be included include integration with health and other services, carers, workforce, and technological developments, among others. The Government will also consider domestic and international comparisons as part of the preparation for the Green Paper.

Social care is a devolved matter. This note relates to England only.