Boris Johnson was today warned the “time for excuses is over” as Labour pressed him to urgently bring forward his social care reform plans.

Both the UK and Welsh Governments favour a UK-wide approach to social care, however pressure is mounting on the UK Government to bring forward its plans.

English social care leaders have written to the Prime Minister calling on him to urgently set out a ten year vision for transforming England’s social care system.

The Welsh Government is waiting on such a plan to be published before it moves forward with long term reform to tackle a ‘social care crisis’ in Wales.

On Monday, a ‘do or die’ meeting on social care involving Boris Johnson, Rishi Sunak and Matt Hancock was postponed, with UK Ministers so far only committing to setting out proposals in full by the end of the year, a full two and a half years after Mr Johnson said he had plans ready to implement. 

Addressing parliament this afternoon (June 23), English health minister Helen Whately outlined her “hugely ambitious” desires for the care system in England, however she came under fire from opposition politicians.

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Labour’s shadow English health minister Liz Kendall told the Commons: “It is 100 weeks since the Prime Minister promised to ‘fix the crisis in social care’ with a plan he had already prepared to give people ‘the dignity and security they deserve’.

“Since then, almost 42,000 care home residents have died from Covid, two million people have applied for support but had their request refused, tens of thousands have had to sell their home to pay for care, families have hit breaking point and staff have been appallingly let down.”

“The time for excuses is over. When will the Government deliver?”

The frustrations have also been simmering in Wales. On Tuesday (June 22), a Pembrokeshire cabinet member accused Westminster of “kicking the can down the road” when it comes to addressing the crisis in social care funding.

Addressing the council’s social care overview and scrutiny committee, Cllr Tessa Hodgson added that discussions with the Welsh Government about developing a sustainable model for social care and “whether Wales can go it alone or maybe shame the UK government into taking some action” was yet to be seen.

The Welsh Government continues to wait for its Westminster counterparts to present a plan, however the Welsh Labour election manifesto said it would seek Welsh solutions if needed, a line repeated since its victory on May 6.

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Earlier today, the Government again reiterated that it would be prepared to go it alone if a long-term UK-wide solution was not forthcoming.

A Welsh Government spokesperson told The National: “Our Inter-Ministerial Group on Paying for Care, which was set up by the previous Welsh Government, worked on this very important issue for many years. A long-term sustainable funding solution for adult social care needs a UK-wide solution.

“If the UK Government plans do not realise a fully-funded UK-wide solution, we will proceed with our own plans for funding reform to support a sustainable adult social care sector.”

Quizzed on the UK Government’s plans at a lobby briefing, Welsh Secretary of State, Simon Hart, said he cannot put a date on when solutions would be brought forward, but told journalists the UK Government’s “ambition has not changed at all”.

Mr Hart said: “It was only a month ago I said it would be a matter of months. I don’t think anything has changed.

“It is clearly something that has been a big burning issue for quite a long time, and it is clearly in everybody’s interest that whatever proposals we come up with carry as much consensus as possible.

“In an area like this, there is a temptation to launch something and then spend a hell of a lot of time arguing with other politicians or stakeholders.

“If there are delays, I don’t think the automatic assumption should be 'they are trying to wriggle out of something'.

“These are a set of challenges we have had for many years and it will take some time to get it right. For the sake of a month or two to find a consensus, it will provide more chance of getting it right.”

Devolved administrations and the UK Government reaching consensus on things has not been an overly commonplace theme in recent times.

Both sides are talking a good talk, but for now, the wait goes on for a sector under immense pressure. 

*additional reporting by PA and the LDRS

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