Reactions to the Dilnot Report

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ePolitix.com members react to the publication of the Dilnot Report into long term care funding.

Member Response: Oliver Thomas, director of Bupa Care Homes UK

Today's recommendations are likely to help people with assets better prepare for care in old age. But it's worth remembering that the majority of people in care homes today are funded by the state. This means there also needs to be significant investment from the government to pay for the care of those with no means to pay for themselves. Political parties must put aside previous differences to work together to make reform happen. Everyone agrees that the status quo is no longer an option.

Member Response: Michelle Mitchell, charity director, Age UK

Age UK welcomes the Dilnot Commission recommendations, which set out a clear blueprint for long term sustainable reform of social care.

The Government now needs to act on Andrew Dilnot's proposals and follow the Commission's ambitious but achievable timetable of a White Paper by the spring. Delay beyond Easter would be indefensible.

By setting a clear cap on contributions towards the cost of care, the Government would lift the fear and uncertainty for many.

The social care system has been neglected for too long and allowed to reach the brink of collapse. The time to act boldly is now to reassure today and tomorrow's older people.

Member Response: David Thomson, director of policy and public affairs, Chartered Insurance Institute (CII)

Given 8 out of 10 people have no idea how much they will have to pay for care there is a real need to address the 'perception gap' as well as setting out a solution to the 'funding gap' to achieve a lasting Beveridge-style settlement for long-term care.

The insurance sector must play its part – not only in stepping up to the plate to support the private element of a new partnership with Government – but also in buttressing the future public trust and confidence in a solution to ensure the partnership's long-term stability and success.

We need solutions that dare as well as care. A long term solution to long-term care is needed and we believe the Dilnot Commission will provide this platform.

The CII recently published a paper entitled Who Cares? The implications of a new partnership to fund long-term care. To read more visit: http://www.knowledge.cii.co.uk/system/files/CII_Issue_Paper_Who_Cares.pdf

Member Response: Richard Humphries, senior fellow, The King's Fund

In establishing the Dilnot Commission, ministers challenged it to produce a blueprint for a care system that is fair, affordable and sustainable. Today's report delivers on that challenge and offers a credible and costed way forward. The government must now move quickly to endorse the framework for reform it sets out; outline a clear timetable for change; and honour its commitment to bring forward legislation in 2012.

Where previous attempts at reform have failed due to lack of political consensus, this report offers the prospect of a lasting settlement based on a new partnership between the individual and the state – a principle long argued for by The King's Fund. While we need to study the detail, overall, the recommendations appear to strike a balance between fairness and affordability that all the political parties should be able to support.

The budget deficit should not be used as a reason for inaction. This is a long-term issue and questions of affordability go beyond the current economic situation. The additional public expenditure needed to fund these proposals is less than 0.25 per cent of gross domestic product – this should not be too high a price to pay for providing a care system fit for the 21st century.

The proposals to cap individual liability for the costs of care and raise the upper threshold of the means test would protect people against the worst aspects of the current care lottery and deliver a more generous system.

While the funding proposals will no doubt generate the headlines, there are a number of other important recommendations including national eligibility criteria and portable assessments, better information and advice, and improvements to the deferred payment scheme. We also welcome the emphasis on integrating health and social care services – a more unified system will deliver benefits for the NHS and social care alike.

The coalition agreement stated that the government understood the urgency of reforming the social care system. A year on, the need for reform is even more pressing. Where they have failed in the past, politicians from all parties must now seize the best opportunity in a generation to ensure that people can access the care and support they deserve in later life.'

Member Response: Su Sayer, chief executive, United Response

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Millions of older and disabled people require some care or support in their lives, but too often this support fails them when they most need it. That is why today's report by the Dilnot Commission on the funding of our social care system is so significant and must be acted on. "Fairer Care Funding" rightly argues that the current system is underfunded and confusing, in need of urgent reform before it reaches the point of total collapse. The report's recommendations are the first step towards creating a better system which ensures that people in need of care receive it, funded in a way that is not only fair, but seen to be fair.

The Commission recommends that the costs of social care should be shared by the state and, if they can afford it, the individual. Controversially, this will require substantial additional funding from the Government at a time of economic difficulty. However, the alternative is likely to be a system which fails the most vulnerable in our society, and which could mean that people's needs escalate and cost more in the long run. Whether viewing this economically or morally, we cannot afford to ignore these recommendations, which is why we urge all political parties to work together towards a better social care system for all.

Member Response: Tim Breedon, chairman, Association of British Insurers

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I would like to congratulate the Commission on producing this report – it is thorough, well evidenced and, on first reading, provides a balanced and appropriate way forward.

Funding long term care has been looked at before – we have had The Royal Commission on Long Term Care (1999), the Wanless Review (2006) and most recently the National Care Service report (2010).

From these earlier reviews we know there is no easy answer. The work that has gone before has informed the position that we are in today. What the Dilnot Commission has on its side is timing – a broad range of politicians, charities, care providers and insurers now agree that this is the right and necessary time to grasp this issue.

We know that discussing the funding of long-term care brings into focus questions of how society treats its older people. We recognise that there are difficult questions to be asked and difficult answers to be given.

I firmly believe that the Dilnot Commission have done a strong job in providing us with solutions. The Commissioners and the secretariat have rigorously analysed the options. There has been thorough engagement with the industry, and we feel that Andrew, Dame Jo and Lord Warner have clearly understood the issues.

I look forward to reading the report in detail, but the ABI agree with the essence of the recommendations which is that there should be a partnership between the state and the individual. This partnership model ensures that individuals cover some of the costs, so that the state has more to spend on the most vulnerable. It also ensures that the very severe costs of truly long term care do not fall on any family.

The insurance industry wants to be able to help, by providing cover to individuals which means they can pay for their share of the costs while leaving a legacy for their grandchildren and keeping the family home if they choose. As an industry, we specialise in receiving premiums which we invest to deliver a future return, available at the point where the individual needs to claim.

Even so, this is not as easy as it sounds and the industry has struggled to address this need for long term care products fully in the past, as life expectancy continues to defy predictions and as care costs rise very significantly. What we need going forward is a clear, stable framework in which the market can develop a range of products that meet consumer need. This report offers hope of just such a framework, agreed between government, the insurance industry and care providers.

We strongly urge politicians to take the proposals forward. We need bold politicians and we need cross-party support. The ABI calls on all leaders of political parties to put aside party differences. I also call on the public and the third sector to ensure that politicians do not let this good opportunity pass us by, as it has done too many times. The burden will only get heavier with inaction. Today's report has to be the beginning of a sustainable, stable framework which allows us to establish a permanent solution to this most challenging of problems.

For my part, I will ensure that the ABI provides the government with support in the next phase and that we, as an industry, are ready to provide innovative solutions for funding long term care.

Member Response: Scope

Under the current system of social care, means testing effectively prevents many working age disabled people from saving. If they build up savings, income or a home worth over £23,250, they risk dropping off of the means-testing 'cliff edge' and have to spend every penny they have saved on huge social care costs. This puts them back to square one, and leaves them without the financial resilience for unexpected shocks. Scope is therefore delighted that Dilnot has acknowledged this as one of the most serious problems of the current system and recommends that those who enter adulthood with a care and support need are eligible for free-state support immediately, rather than being subjected to a means test. This will help smooth the transition from children's services to adult social care. In addition, at the moment eligibility, and interpretations of eligibility, vary between local authorities. Many disabled people are also prevented and delayed from moving home because they cannot take their social care support with them. We therefore also welcome Dilnot's recommendations for portable assessments and for consistent levels of care, set at a national level.


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