Hell hath no fury like a government minister sacked (as proven by our anonymous ‘Dumped by Dave’ piece this week). Another former minister, Paul Burstow, lost his job because Nick Clegg was miffed at the way the Lib Dem had failed to flag up the dangers in the Health and Social Care Bill. He’d already formed a habit of briefing against his own department when he was in office, so it’s no great shock that Burstow has decided to dish the dirt on the Treasury in the Telegraph today, claiming it is responsible for blocking reform of the social care system. He writes:
‘Of course, if fixing this was easy the last Labour Government would have done it in those halcyon days when Chancellor Brown told us he had ended boom and bust. So, why did Labour fail? And why, despite the signs the Prime Minister had changed his mind over the summer, could the coalition fail too? Answer: HM Treasury.
‘The Treasury’s view is simple: kick the can down the road despite our risen elderly population. There’s no sense of urgency. No recognition that left unreformed there is no incentive for families to plan and prepare.’
As James reports in his column this week, George Osborne is mulling suggesting to new Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt that the £1.7 billion cost of implementing the proposals of the Dilnot Commission on social care should be met out of the ring-fenced health budget. As Osborne contemplates how to cut Whitehall spending over the next few years, that pressure on the health budget will only grow, particularly if the Chancellor struggles to make the £10 billion of welfare cuts he is currently pitching for.Tags: NHS, Paul Burstow, Social care, Treasury, UK politics