FOR too long, social care has been the crisis that no political party dared tackle. Now that the Government has plucked up the courage to take it on, largely because the crisis has grown too large to ignore, there are bound to be disagreements about its plans.

They are a step in the right direction.

They should prevent living people from being forced to sell their homes, although their debts will be paid after their deaths from their estate, so affecting the trickledown of wealth from one generation to the next. Houses probably will be sold, at some point, to cover these debts.

But there is also a more generous contribution from the state, so everyone will be in a better position, with people with assets of £100,000 or less eligible for some assistance.

But are the plans perfect? No. Far from it. That the cap on the amount a person pays is £86,000 regardless of the value of their estate does not seem fair, particularly for the North East where house prices are much lower than the south. The poorest will pay proportionally more than the richest, thus increasing the north-south divide.

There must be a fairer way: perhaps the cap should be a percentage of a person’s estate, although that would probably just encourage clever accountancy.

These difficulties, of course, are why no one has dared tackle this reform, and why there is so much noise around it – let’s hope the North East’s pleas for a fairer cap are not drowned out by it.