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The problem of funding long term social care

19 May 17

The problem of funding long term social care

Sir Andrew Dilnot has been asked for his reaction to the Conservative government's social care plans published in its party manifesto.

The Warden of Nuffield has been in high demand by the British press for his comments in response to the Conservative party’s answer to the social care funding problem, which was released in its party manifesto on 18th May. Sir Andrew Dilnot was chair of the commission charged with reviewing the funding system for care and support back in 2010-2011. Among the commission’s recommendations was a general cap of £35,000 on the amount an individual would have to pay for their own care costs during their lifetime. The recommendations were welcomed by the Coalition government at the time, with the proposed cap due to be implemented in April 2017. However, those plans were put on hold late last year, and the Conservative party’s new election manifesto proposes instead a floor on an individual’s savings and assets, including their homes, of £100,000, above which they must pay. Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme, Dilnot argued that such an approach fails to “tackle the biggest problem of all in social care, which is that at the moment people are faced with a position of no control”. He explained that it is a classic example of market failure where the private sector cannot operate with the levels of individual risk involved in unpredictable long-term care costs. It is exactly the kind of situation where the state can step in to pool a population’s risk and provide assurance of cost caps. On 22nd May, four days after the publication of the Conservative party manifesto, the Prime Minister announced that they would propose an absolute limit on the amount people have to pay for their care costs. The announcement has been called a dramatic “U-Turn” on their original statements about social care, although the actual level at which the cost cap would be set has not been confirmed. Writing in The Guardian, David Brindle said that Andre Dilnot, “deserves much credit for having exposed the consequences of dropping the cap.” (23 May 2017) See below for selected references to the press coverage of Dilnot’s response to the government’s social care plans: Tory social care plans will leave people helpless, says former adviser – The Guardian https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/may/18/tory-social-care-plan-example-market-failure-andrew-dilnot Tory social care plans 'fail to tackle' fears – BBC News http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/election-2017-39959374/tory-social-care-plans-fail-to-tackle-fears Jeremy Hunt Admits Tory Manifesto Dropped ‘Unfair’ 2015 Pledge On Social Care – Huffington Post http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/tory-manifesto-launch-jeremy-hunt-admits-2015-pledge-social-care-dropped_uk_591d499fe4b03b485cae9768 Tory manifesto: Conservatives proposing 'Frankenstein’s monster of a plan' for social care, pensioners warn – Independent http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/conservative-manifesto-election-2017-social-care-tories-frankenstein-plan-pensioners-theresa-may-a7742226.html Conservative manifesto: Theresa May's social care plans 'would leave elderly helpless' – Evening Standard http://www.standard.co.uk/news/politics/conservative-manifesto-theresa-mays-social-care-plans-would-leave-elderly-helpless-a3542431.html Dilnot expressed his concern that the current government’s proposals mean, “People will be left helpless, knowing that what will happen is that if they are unlucky enough to suffer the need for care costs they will be entirely on their own until they are down to the last £100,000 of all of their wealth including their house.” He has appeared on Channel 4, the BBC, Sky News and other radio and television outlets to talk about the challenges and possible solutions to funding long term social care.