Supporting our vulnerable adults

Cost of care reform is worth paying, says Dilnot

The cost of reforming care funding is worth paying, Andrew Dilnot told a meeting organised by Surrey County Council.

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Mr Dilnot said the current system of funding care for the elderly “works badly” and urged the Coalition to back his proposed changes.

Speaking at the meeting in Woking, Mr Dilnot said: “This is a crucial part of the way in which we live that at the moment works badly, that doesn’t work to provide the kind of lifestyle that individuals want, nor does it make working in the sector easy. We need to do this and the suggestion that we can’t afford it seems to me to be simply wrong.”

He added: “Those of you working in the sector are doing a fabulous job in a context that is frankly inadequate and it is a stain on our policy-making history that for 60 years we haven’t managed to get some progress here, and we really, really need to.”

Last year the Government asked Mr Dilnot to look into how the system of funding social care in England could be changed amid concerns about the cost of supporting an ageing population.

The Commission on Funding of Care and Support which he led called for a cap of £35,000 on the amount an individual would have to pay on their own care costs. Above that, the state would pay for care, regardless of wealth.

In addition, the commission recommended an increase in the means testing threshold of savings and assets above which the state offers no help with care costs – from £23,250 to £100,000.

The Government is currently weighing up the recommendations, which Dilnot says would mean no individual would spend more than 30% of their wealth on care, ahead of the publication of a White Paper

“Will it happen? I think there is an eight of 10 chance,” Mr Dilnot said.

He added: “This is the worst means test in the whole of the British welfare state. It is absolutely, completely bonkers. It leads to enormous feelings of unfairness. It also strongly incentivises cheating.”

Surrey County Council’s Strategic Director for Adult Social Care Sarah Mitchell said the cost of bringing in Dilnot’s changes would be “significant”, with the amount in Surrey alone being an estimated £100 million, but the benefits would be “immense in terms of care”.

“This could have a really positive impact for the people we serve,” she said. “We’ve estimated the costs to Surrey as £100m so we have got to get the funding right.”


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