The Coalition Government is right to want to improve long-term care in the UK. The best is good, but the worst is unacceptable.
The Dilnot Report concentrated too much on the inheritances of the children of elderly people needing care, and too little on the experience of those in care. John Redwood MP applies his experience as a constituency MP and a former Minister to look at how our care policies could be modernised.
He is critical of Mr Dilnot’s proposed cap on the costs of social care at £35,000. This is said to cost the taxpayer an initial £1.7 billion a year, though it could rise well above that. He shows that:
- The cost will go mainly towards protecting the inheritances of better off families. It is difficult to see this is a priority at a time of need for spending restraint.
- The cap will not do as much as some hope for the relatives it is meant to help. This report shows that someone in care for four years in the south east with means of their own could have to find £149,000 under the Dilnot scheme, compared to £170,000 today.
- The Association of British Insurers and others who stand to develop new business from the right proposals think this cost cap is unlikely to help develop a better market to insure against such needs.
- The priority for the Coalition should be to spend what extra money there is on more choice and better quality of care for those who need it.
- There are other ways of incentivising self-provision to encourage forward-planning for care costs.