[Matt Hancock: ... My final point on new clause 49 is this. For years and years – including the years when I was Secretary of State, and including the entire 13 years when Labour was in power – nobody fixed the problem of social care. This Government have come forward with a package, and if we pull apart one part of the package, there is a risk to the package as a whole. As Sir Andrew Dilnot said on the radio this morning,
“the whole package is a significant step forward”.
It is always easy in politics, and in life, to say, “I just accept the bits of the package that I like” – and, in the case of the Labour party, to say, “I accept the bits that are very expensive for taxpayers.” Instead, we must look at the package as a whole, which is funded, and which can be delivered, for the first time in several decades, because it hangs together. The Government have presented a whole package, and it is the best possible option in the fiscally constrained times in which we live.]
Dr Julian Lewis: I am sorry to be unhelpful to my right hon. Friend, but if this element is so integral to the overall package, why was it not brought forward right at the beginning?
[Matt Hancock: This part of the package was described in September, because it was made clear in September that the £86,000 cap was a cap on individual costs. It did not say then that that included the costs that local government may make on someone’s behalf. I think it is a strong Conservative principle that, when we say we are capping the costs that an individual pays, we do not include the costs that another part of the state should pay. I think that that was clear, and more details have now been set out. Most importantly, this is a package that takes things forward in a way that has not been achieved for decades.]