Senior Tories criticise government for lack of social care reform and cuts to international aid

Boris Johnson claimed he had a clear plan for social care reform in 2019

The government has been criticised for failing to make changes to social care (Getty Images)

Theresa May urged Boris Johnson to “grasp” social care reform as she made a series of appeals to her successor as Prime Minister.

Mr Johnson told MPs he would bring forward adult social care proposals, despite pledging in 2019 that he had a “clear plan” prepared to fix the system.

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Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said it was “unforgiveable” that such a plan was not included in the Queen’s Speech, which outlines the Government’s legislative programme in the forthcoming months.

And senior Conservative MP Mrs May was among those who also raised the need for reform during the Queen’s Speech debate.

She explained: “I know it’s not an easy issue, I put forward a plan, it was comprehensively rejected – so I recognise the difficulty in trying to come forward with something here, but it is an issue we need to grasp.

“I think the pandemic has shown, and the issues around social care that came up have shown, the importance of this and of reform that genuinely provides a sustainable social care system into the future.

“It also needs to be a system that does not exacerbate the intergenerational divisions.”

Calls to reverse foreign aid reduction

Mrs May earlier advised Mr Johnson to “look again” at temporarily reducing foreign aid from 0.7% of national income to 0.5%.

She said: “I would urge the Government to look again at this reduction because it is having an impact on the poorest and on suffering across the world.

“And if we really want to show our values as a country then I think we should be doing everything we can to uphold those commitments.”

On new homes, Mrs May continued: “I think (Tory MP Katherine Fletcher) thought that this proposal would bring greater local involvement.

“In fact, the White Paper proposals bring less local involvement.

“They reduce local democracy, they remove the opportunity for local people to comment on specific developments, they remove the ability of local authorities to set development policies locally – and I think the White Paper proposals would also lead to fewer affordable homes because it hands developers a get-out clause.

“We need more homes to be built, we need the right homes to be built in the right places. I fear that unless the Government looks again at the White Paper planning proposals what we will see is not more homes, but we will potentially see the wrong homes being built in the wrong places.”

Mrs May also suggested efforts must take place to find a way to “draw some sort of line” on legacy issues – linked to veterans and “terrorists” – to help deliver a “better future” for Northern Ireland.