Plus ça change

Followers of British politics were privy to a familiar scene in late July. Having trailed his social care plans through trusted broadsheets – with the headline-grabbing detail that an increase in national insurance would fund a Dilnot-style cap on lifetime costs – Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s scheme was met with opprobrium from across the political spectrum. Those with their ears to the ground quickly heard the familiar dull thud and rustle of social care reform being booted into the long grass.

And while this was a tale as old as time, the excuse given on the day was at least novel. The finer points of the funding mechanism, it was reported, needed to be finalised in the autumn as the three key players (Johnson, Rishi Sunak and Sajid Javid) were forced to self-isolate, as rising case levels and an over-eager NHS Test and Trace app turned the country into the United Pingdom.

In a press conference just days before, Johnson remarked to a reporter from The Sun that the UK had been waiting 30 years for a plan for social care, so they could wait a few more days before the details were announced. Now those days have once again turned into weeks and months, there is the sense – to borrow another Johnsonian phrase – ‘if not now, then when’?

For those operating, investing in and advising social care businesses this is arguably the most normal, predictable development in what has been an extraordinary period for the sector and the country. Dealing with uncertainty has been a prerequisite for operating in the social care space in recent years, but it makes it no less frustrating for those making long-term plans for their businesses.

If hopeless prevarication is one sign that life is returning to normal, then there are also more positive indicators that we are coming out of the pandemic in the UK. Looking ahead to the second half of 2021, there is a lot to be excited about for the HealthInvestor team. On September 13 – fingers crossed – we will welcome more than 1,000 people to the HealthInvestor Awards, for the first major physical event in 18 months.

On 21 October we are delighted to be hosting the inaugural Seniors Housing Awards, which is the first dedicated ceremony for one of the fastest-growing sectors in the market. Just look at this month’s news pages to see how much capital is being channeled into this burgeoning asset class. On 2 November our HealthInvestor Summit returns, bringing together leading executives, investors and market experts to discuss the state of the sector as we move out of the pandemic. And then on 8 December – after a year off – the Power Fifty returns, as we name the most influential figures in the UK health and social care market.

Whether or not we’ll have new social care legislation to pore over remains to be seen, but it’ll be great to discuss it in person either way.

Vernon Baxter,

Managing director, Investor Publishing

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