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Parliament commissions first 'citizens' assembly' on social care

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Members of the public will convene to make recommendations on the long-term funding of adult social care in the first “citizens’ assembly” commissioned by parliament.

Up to 50 people will be chosen to hear the views of experts on the issue and then report to the joint inquiry being carried out by the Commons’ housing, communities and local government committee and the health and social care committee.

HCLG committee chair Clive Betts (Lab) said proposals including the use of national taxation, a compulsory national insurance scheme and an inheritance tax will be considered by the assembly.

He said: “A long-term solution is necessary if we are to ensure the right care is available for everyone who needs it. The citizens’ assembly has an opportunity to bring forward ideas that could command consensus.”

HSC committee chair Sarah Wollaston (Con) said convening a citizens’ assembly takes parliament’s engagement with the public a step further.

“If this proves helpful I hope citizens’ assemblies could be rolled out as a way of helping parliament to engage with the public ahead of other challenging and complex decisions,” she added.

A cross-party group of 98 MPs, including 21 select committee chairs, last month wrote to the prime minister urging her to establish a parliamentary commission to examine ways to increase resources for the under-pressure health and social care system.

The two events will take place in Birmingham on 27-29 April and 18-20 May and participants will be chosen to reflect the make-up of the wider population.

The government is due to publish a green paper on the long-term funding of social care this summer.

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