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2017 Election
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Health and social care election tracker

How are health and care issues shaping the political landscape as we head towards the 2017 general election?

The story so far

jun 2017

Conservatives move to form government with support of DUP

9 June 2017

After falling short of an overall majority, Theresa May moves to form a government with the support of the Democratic Unionist Party of Northern Ireland.  

With one seat still to declare, the Conservatives win 318 seats, 8 seats short of an overall majority; Labour have 261 MPs, up 29 from the last election. The Liberal Democrats have 12 seats, an increase of 4.

UKIP leader Paul Nuttall resigns.

may 2017

Parties’ health spokespeople make pitches on Today programme

31 May 2017

Each of the main parties’ health spokespeople are given 30 seconds to set out their plans for the NHS on Radio 4’s Today programme. 

The Conservatives’ Jeremy Hunt argues that investment in public services depends on a strong economy and that Theresa May is best placed to negotiate a good Brexit deal that would allow the government to increase NHS spending.

Labour’s Jonathan Ashworth pledges a front-loaded spending increase, a pause in sustainability and transformation plans to allow public engagement, and to repeal the Health and Social Care Act 2012.

Norman Lamb says the Lib Dems would increase health spending by £6 billion a year funded by a 1 per cent rise in income tax; subsequently they would introduce a dedicated health and care tax informed by the recommendations of a new Office for Budget Responsibility-style organisation for health.


May backs £10 billion capital investment for NHS

22 May 2017

Speaking in a BBC interview, Theresa May commits to £10 billion in capital investment to fund the Conservatives’ manifesto pledge to deliver ‘the most ambitious programme of investment in buildings and technology the NHS has ever seen’. 

May adds that her Party is ‘backing the proposals in the Naylor report’ – a reference to Sir Robert Naylor’s review of NHS property and estates, published in April. The review identified a capital funding requirement of £10 billion to deliver the service changes set out in the NHS five year forward view and upgrade maintain NHS buildings. 

The £10 billion of capital investment is separate from the manifesto pledge to increase NHS spending by a minimum of £8 billion in real terms over the next five years. It is not clear how much of it would be additional public funding – the Naylor review indicated that much of the investment could would come from property sales and private capital, as well as the public purse.

Theresa May

Theresa May reverses manifesto position on capping care costs

22 May 2017

Just four days after launching her party’s manifesto, Theresa May announces that a future Conservative government would introduce an ‘absolute limit’ on people’s liability for care costs.  

The unprecedented move follows heavy criticism of the proposals unveiled in the Conservative manifesto, which did not mention a cap on care costs – originally proposed by the Dilnot Commission and included in the Conservatives’ 2015 manifesto ­– arguing that this would mainly be of benefit to a small number of wealthier people.  

The Prime Minister denies a U-turn on the original policy, explaining that the cap would be included in a proposed Green Paper on social care. Asked what level the cap would be set at, Ms May states that this will be a matter for consultation.

Conservative manifesto abandons plans to cap social care costs

18 May 2017

The Conservatives launch their manifesto amid a strong media focus on social care.

Their proposals include the introduction of a means test for winter fuel payments, with the savings diverted to health and social care, and changes to the means test for local authority-funded social care. However, a previous commitment to introduce a cap on people’s liability for the costs of their care is abandoned.

On the NHS, the manifesto commits an additional £8 billion in funding over the next five years, and promises ‘the most ambitious programme of investment in buildings and technology the NHS has ever seen’.  It backs the NHS five year forward view and sustainability and transformation plans ‘provided they are clinically led and locally supported’.

It also commits to legislate, if necessary, to speed up implementation of changes to health services and signals a review of the NHS internal market.

Conservatives call for Mental Health Act to be replaced

7 May 2017

The Conservatives announce proposals to replace the Mental Health Act 1983.

They want to end ‘unnecessary detention’ of people with mental health problems, and to give new rights to employees who experience mental health issues.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt tells The Andrew Marr Show: ‘We want to stop the fact that you can lose your job for that and suffer discrimination in a way that you would not be able to suffer now if you were disabled, [or had] other conditions.’

This follows Theresa May’s first speech on domestic policy earlier this year, when she said she wants to ‘transform the way we deal with mental health problems right across society’.

apr 2017

Theresa May

May questioned about tax breaks for social care

30 April 2017

Robert Peston asks Prime Minister Theresa May about reports that the Conservatives are considering tax breaks to encourage people to save for their social care.

She says: ‘We are looking at how we can ensure we have a sustainable system of social care. It’s to be dealt with in short-term measures, which is the £2billion extra we put into social care in the Budget. In the medium term, we need best practice across the country. Longer term, we need a sustainable system of social care. These are the sorts of issues we will be looking at in the manifesto.’

The Sunday Times also reports that the Conservatives are considering a salary sacrifice scheme through which young workers will be able to save towards their own care costs.

May admits ‘we need to stop ducking’ social care

25 April 2017

In a campaign speech in South Wales, Theresa May admits, ‘we need to stop ducking the issue’ of social care, signalling a potential election manifesto commitment on the issue.

She says: ‘We are and have been already working on a long-term solution and that’s what we need in this country. We need to ensure we have got that long-term solution for a sustainable future for social care.’

This follows a Budget announcement by Chancellor Philip Hammond that the government would publish a Green Paper on the future of social care later this year.