On 8 March the Chancellor must show that he understands both the immediate care crisis and the need for a radical and sustainable long term solution. Older and disabled people and their families and carers have been waiting too long for the answer. Let's hope that their expectations aren't dashed yet again.
The next few years are going to require some bold and creative solutions to some very challenging problems. These solutions are going increasingly to invented and implemented on a place basis and will be best achieved when local government and the VCS are together promoting and striving for their communities.
An extraordinary second Monday in December may have heralded long-awaited government action to tackle the care crisis. With more than a million older people not getting the help they need and cash-strapped local authorities squeezing fees to fragile care businesses, the care system seems close to collapse. Now all eyes are on the government's funding settlement for councils later this week. Will it simply allow councils to raise council tax to fund care or will it offer something more fundamental?
Imagine you're an unpaid carer. You look after a family member. You cook for them, clean their house, do the washing, and look after the finances. Done all that? Now repeat - only for yourself. In between those tasks you go out to work to pay the bills, make sure your children are ferried to and from school, and, occasionally, catch some shut eye.
Last month's Budget suggested that George Osborne has softened on the overall spending squeeze by the end of the next Parliament, but he still indicated more cuts for local government over the next few years. And things would be unlikely to be significantly easier should the General Election lead to a government of a different colour.