Dan Parton writes (11th July 2012) : So, the Care and Support White Paper and the draft Care and Support Bill have finally seen the light of day. While there are some good ideas in them, the main issue – how long-term social care will be funded – has once again been ducked. Without this, progress in reforming social care will be limited at best.Firstly, the positives - because there are some that should make a difference. Measures such as service users having portable assessments – so they no longer have to be reassessed if they move area – is a sensible move.Legislation to entitle people to a personal budget is also welcome, and it reinforces the personalisation agenda of the previous few years.Plans for national minimum eligibility criteria for care services are also overdue. The postcode lottery has been a thorn in the side of social care for many years and it is heartening to see this nettle grasped. However, I suspect the devil will be in the detail with this: what exactly will be the minimum level? I worry that if a council provides more than the minimum level, they will be tempted to revise their criteria down to that level, especially if budgets are still tight, which it looks like they will be.More training for care workers is also a sensible development. Something of a no-brainer, this one and you wonder why it hasn’t been done before. However, this will need an effective delivery plan to ensure it happens.Elsewhere, plans in the Care and Support Bill to update social care law are long overdue. A confusing mish-mash of statutes has been allowed to grow since 1948, so bringing it into one statute should make things a lot easier to understand for everyone.But – and it’s a huge but – the Government has, like its predecessor, failed to find a solution to how all of this is going to be funded, which means that social care reform can only go so far – and certainly not as far as it needs to.While health secretary Andrew Lansley talks of how the recommendations in the Dilnot Commission report are “the right basis for any new funding model” the issue of how this may be implemented – and paid for – has been kicked into the long grass as something for the next Comprehensive Spending Review in late 2013.To me, this smacks of blatant short-termism, thinking only of getting the deficit down, rather than putting extra money in place to fund a system for the next 20-30 years that will provide adequately for the rising number of older and disabled people who will require some form of social care.It seems simple; if the Dilnot recommendations are the right way to go – and they do have support from people in the sector – then they should be implemented without delay.As many others have said before me, the longer this issue is not tackled, the worse it will get, the solutions harder to come by and the cost of making the reforms larger.Sadly, without this, reform can only go so far and some of the positive measures in the White Paper could founder, meaning service users would once again lose out. And that would be a tragedy.