Will the new PM act on social care funding?
Theresa May’s experience of attempting to tackle social care funding in 2017 has possibly dissuaded Jeremy Hunt and Boris Johnson from making any significant commitments on the issue, but it has not stopped others from raising the issue. A report published yesterday by the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee called on the Government to secure the long-term future of care funding through increasing general taxation. This echoes a report last week by the think tank Policy Exchange, who also urged the next Prime Minister to make most adult care free at the point of use by increasing taxes. Despite the fallout at the last general election, there is a renewed push for the Government, having still not published its long-awaited green paper, to commit to a long-term strategy for care funding. Might the new PM bypass all of this and simply commit to a new policy in line with these recommendations? It would be a brave move, but the pressure will be on to act.
DfE announces funding for school-based nursery places
Education Secretary Damian Hinds announced this week that the Government had allocated £22 million new funding for the creation of 1,800 places in school-based nurseries. The Government announced last year as part of a £50 million commitment to increasing social mobility that it would invest in school-based nursery places in disadvantaged areas through the School Nurseries Capital Fund. The policy has long been criticised and will meet with the frustration of sector organisations and PVI providers, who have called for the Government to provide further financial assistance to local government to support existing high-quality provision rather than prioritising capital spending on new infrastructure. The Government’s announcement may be a welcome focus for some on early years, but it does little to alleviate financial pressures on the sector as a whole.
Who are the winners in the contest for the top EU positions?
Of the EU national leaders, it is certainly Emmanuel Macron who has the most to celebrate as nominations and appointments were made to the leading roles in the EU this week. Through abandoning the recent process for the selecting the President of the European Commission, Macron effectively derailed the nomination of centre-right German MEP Manfred Weber. Although eastern European member states and Italy are blocking the centre-left candidate Frans Timmermans, who would have been Macron’s preferred candidate at this stage, and Weber only ever enjoyed at most the tacit support of Angela Markel as her own party’s candidate, it is still a victory for the French president that he has effectively led the way in ensuring Weber’s nomination was blocked. The appointments of Christine Lagarde to head the ECB and the Belgian Charles Michel to lead the European Council are also positive for Macron, and Ursula Von Der Leyen will be indebted to him should she take the Commission presidency.
Jamie Cater, the brains behind a lot of GK’s thinking, leads our policy work across the entire business but with a specialism in providing strategic advice to investors during M&A activity.