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Long-term care reform delayed by funding woes

The government is expected to back the Dilnot Commission's proposals for long-term care reform, but will delay implementation as it struggles to find funding.

Long-term care reform delayed by funding woes

The government is expected to put forward plans to cap the amount people pay for their old age care this week, but will delay its decision on how the reforms will be paid for.

The plan for how to deal with the increased need and cost of long-term care will be contained in a ‘progress report’ on social care funding, which will be published on Wednesday alongside a paper detailing reforms to services for disabled and elderly adult, according to The Telegraph.

The details of the cap are unknown but is expected to follow recommendations from economist Andrew Dilnot, whose Dilnot Commission was tasked with reforming long-term care for the elderly.

Last July the commission proposed capping individuals’ care costs at £35,000 and increasing the means-tested threshold which would mean those with assets of £100,000 would receive some state help with care. Currently, those with assets of £23,000 receive no help from the state.

Dilnot also proposed individuals should be expected to take out private insurance to pay for care bills up to £35,000.

However, the cost of Dilnot’s plans may prove prohibitive as it would require chancellor George Osborne to spend an extra £1.7 billion a year. Although the government is expected to back Dilnot’s proposals on Wednesday, it will delay making a decision about how it will pay for the reforms for another year – meaning pensioners will not benefit from Dilnot’s proposals before the next general election.

A source told The Telegraph: ‘There is support for the principle of Dilnot. But there is no money at the moment so it has to be considered in the spending review. If we have the money at the spending review we will do something that looks like Dilnot.’

As people live longer the cost of care continues to rise, putting a strain on families of elderly people who need care. Currently 20,000 people a year are forced to sell their home to pay for care bills.

According to insurer LV= the current cost of care is £26,000 a year but that cost is set to rise to £33,000 by 2025.

As life expectancy rises more people will need long-term care. Currently 840,184 people make use of formal care services but this number is expected to rise to 1.1 million by 2025.

3 comments so far. Why not have your say?

steven fieldfare

Jul 09, 2012 at 18:11

Michelle McGagh seems to have fallen into the "copy journalism" trap on Care Home costs. While the 26K figure is much bandied about, it seems historic and difficult to establish as a properly researched source (with attendant assumptions). In practice 33k seems more the routine now and frequently is a much higher charge after essential "extras" are included.

I suspect that the 26K figure represents a depressed average paid by Councils for non paying clients that they sponsor and especially for basic Council run homes. It would be interesting to learn also whether the 26K figure is before or after clawback of State Pensions and Attendance Allowance.

Self funders invariably pay much more than 26K, especially in private Care Homes, where their higher charges cross-subsidise marginally profitable Council contractees.

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David Lewis

Jul 09, 2012 at 19:36

I don't understand why the government are finding it difficult to find the money for old age care. This is not social care it is palliative care and I and all the others have already paid for it through our contributions to the National insurance Fund over our working lives.

When I started work the fund was in its infancy and there were many older people who needed funding who had not paid much by way of contributions. We happily accepted that some of our contributions would go to funding them until the fund was up and running, and in return it was accepted that our care would be funded through old age.

The Government has had 65 years to prepare for my retirement, it was not a surprise event! They have had my money and I now want my care, free at the point of delivery as promised. If they default on this promise I believe we have a strong case to sue for our contributions back with interest.

If they have squandered my money on things like overseas aid, unnecessary wars and MOD disasters then they have to raise it. That shouldn't be a problem. If they don't steal it from me for care fees, quite a large portion will go to them in IHT anyway. They could increase IHT a bit if they really need to but we either spend it which stimulates the economy and pays VAT or we keep it and pay IHT.

It seems to me there is much to much ageist ranting about older people. Most of us have worked hard all our lives and to claim we have somehow got rich put of boom years is just rubbish. We have always paid our way and paid some very high taxes as well.

Stop whingeing about us and pay us that to which we are entitled!

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James B. Johnson

Jul 10, 2012 at 14:08

David Lewis:


At last some sound common sense in this blog!

The Government can afford anything that it CHOOSES.

That is the point..."CHOICE".

This Government chooses to favour those with incomes of £150,000 and over and to penalise pensioners and others at the bottom of the income scale.

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