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By Donia O'Loughlin | Published Apr 26, 2012

MPs launch new social care inquiry backed by provider

An all party parliamentary local government group, drawn from MPs and peers from all parties, has launched an inquiry on future care provision to review how local authorities enable citizens to be financially independent, backed by annuities provider Partnership

The group said the inquiry will enable the parliamentary group to respond with authority to government’s social care white paper on the future of care and funding, which is expected in May.

Sponsored by Partnership, the inquiry will also examine local government’s role in enabling citizens to lead independent lives and shaping markets for delivery of adult social care.

The parliamentary group will hear evidence over three weeks from experts across the adult social care sector, including the Department of Health, Age UK, ADASS, the King’s Fund, senior parliamentarians and local authorities.

Supported by think-tank,the Local Government information Unit, the group will collate written and oral evidence and publish recommendations in the summer.

The launch of the inquiry follows the publication of the Dilnot Review in July 2011, which recommended a cap of £35,000 on individuals’ lifetime contributions towards their social care costs.

The independent commission, set up by the government last July, was asked to recommend a fair and sustainable funding system for adult social care in England. Andrew Dilnot, chair of the commission, said the issue of funding for adult social care has been ignored for too long.

Chris Horlick, managing director of care at Partnership, said that adult social care is one of the most significant issues facing the UK.

Mr Horlick said: “Access to appropriate financial advice is critical to self-payers. Of the 53,000 people who entered residential care in 2009, only 7,000 received appropriate financial advice.

“It is hardly surprising that LGiU estimates that 25 per cent of all self funders depleted their capital falling back on the state.

“This not only costs local authorities an estimated £1bn a year in England alone, it also results in significant distress to residents and their families and could be mitigated with access to appropriate financial advice.

“The all party parliamentary group’s scrutiny in this area is extremely welcome.”

Heather Wheeler MP, chair of the all party local government group, added: “Holding this inquiry is so important. At a local level social care is a massive issue both because of the quality of care delivered, but also the cost of care.

“People know a lot more because of the Dilnot Report, but there are still so many unanswered questions. This inquiry gives us the opportunity to explore this area, hear from experts, and contribute to finding ways forward to the white paper.”

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