The long awaited green paper on social care has been delayed as a result of Brexit-related work, the government has said.
The paper on long-term reform of the care funding system was initially due to be published this summer, but was then delayed until the autumn.
The industry will now have to wait until the new year to hear the government’s proposals for how care should be funded.
The department of Health and Social Care confirmed the paper would be introduced for debate in the house of commons at the “earliest opportunity” in the new year.
There have also been calls for a ‘Social Care Premium’, effectively a new tax on people over the age of 40.
The paper follows the government’s scrapping of the proposed £72,500 cap on social care in December.
Social care had been on the agenda for a number of years, with former prime minister David Cameron promising to implement a cap on the cost of care of £72,500, which was supposed to come into effect in April 2016.
But in 2015 the government pushed this back to 2020, because it would have added £6bn to public sector spending at a “time of consolidation”.
Meanwhile, some stakeholders have said they consider it the job of care providers to get on with ensuring the right level of social care is delivered.
Professor Martin Green, CEO of Care England, said: “The green paper will give the government’s view of the future of long term care. We have waited a long time for successive governments to pontificate therefore the sector has to find its own solutions.”
Nadra Ahmed, chief executive of the National Care Association, said: “The green paper delay is no surprise.
“Successive governments have raised the issue of social care only to kick it into the long grass. This is a mistake when you consider that more people are living longer and needing social care.
“Dementia and obesity are adding to the catalogue of problems that the social care sector faces, both practically in terms of physical and psychological care.”
Francis Klonowski, chartered financial planner at Klonowski & Co, said: “I can’t see this making any difference.
“Relying on the government is a foolish practice. I always advise my clients to ensure they build in provisions for their retirement years, including the possibility of long-term care.
“If you live in rude health post retirement, you’ll have more money to enjoy your retirement, if not having savings to hand will be essential, and will be infinitely preferable than draining your inheritance.”