Tuesday 16 January 2018
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Miliband and Cameron back cross-party talks on care

Labour leader Ed Miliband has said he wants cross-party talks to resolve the problem of funding adult social care.

Mr Miliband said he wanted parties to work together so people could "grow old with dignity".

PM David Cameron said he "thoroughly welcomed" the idea of talks on what was a "very difficult" issue.

Any talks will not happen until the Dilnot Commission reports on its plans for the future funding of social care in England in July.

Labour explored a number of options for reform of long term care for the elderly before the 2010 general election but the three largest parties failed to reach agreement on how to proceed.

It ended in a row ahead of the general election with the Conservatives accusing Labour of planning a "death tax" to pay for free care at home for the elderly.

'Serious offer'

At a press conference in London, Mr Miliband vowed to "come to these talks with an open mind about the best way forward, not simply advocating what we have proposed in the past".
 

Asked what that meant for previous Labour care pledges - such as National Care Service, announced by Gordon Brown in his 2009 Labour conference speech - he said: "It doesn't mean we are ditching our commitment... I'm still a supporter of that idea."

But, he added, he would go into any cross-party talks with an open mind.

David Cameron welcomed Mr Miliband's call for cooperation on the issue.

He said: "This is a very difficult issue to get right as a country - the long-term costs of social care, how we share those costs, how we pay for them.

"If there is an opportunity for cross-party work on that, I thoroughly welcome it.

"The idea of commissioning Andrew Dilnot was to see if he could unlock this fantastically difficult problem that has dogged governments of all colours for the last few decades.

 

"I am always happy to have cross-party talks, particularly on an issue like that."

The Department of Health said the Dilnot commission had consulted members of different political parties and was working on recommendations "that will attract the widest possible support".

Source: BBC