PM pledges to fund Dilnot care fees funding reform
The prime minister has reportedly told Nick Clegg and senior members of the Conservative party that he will implement recommendations to cap the amount individuals pay for long-term care at £35,000, according to reports in the Daily Mail.
The reports claim Mr Cameron has “wholeheartedly” agreed to find the £1.7bn needed to fund the reforms in the next spending review in 2014.
Last month Health Secretary Andrew Lansley announced that while the government supported the the care funding principles laid out by the Dilnot Commission, the size of the structural deficit and the economic situation meant it was “unable to commit to introducing the new system at this stage”.
He also confirmed in a white paper that any key decisions on funding would be delayed until at least 2014
However, sources have now told the Daily Mail that senior Tories and Liberal Democrats say Mr Cameron has had a change of heart and is determined to press ahead with the plans.
It is understood that Mr Cameron decided to implement the Dilnot report a week after Mr Lansley made his announcement and revealed his decision to the Cabinet before the summer recess.
Charities, care pressure groups and other major stakeholders have been lobbying the government to come up with a solution to the country’s care crisis. However, many of them have hit out at today’s reports.
Jim Boyd, director of corporate affairs for long-term care annuity provider Partnership, said the leaks to the press “added nothing” to what the government has already said.
He said the leaks were political spin to earn favour with voters following the next election.
He said: “The government is just repeating what it said before but with a positive gloss. The door was slammed on Nick Clegg over House of Lords reform and this is a sort of token gesture. This is a story that has been beautifully spun.”
Any commitment to fund long-term care reform will come in the next spending review in 2014 at the earliest. Reforms won’t be introduced until at least 2017.
Mr Boyd said this means the big concern for many in the care industry is that the public will mistakenly believe change will happen soon and fail to get proper advice or plan for the future.
He said: “There is still massive scope for the government to move the goal posts and the big concern for IFAs is people will think there is going to be jam tomorrow when if fact there isn’t, and will therefore defer taking critical financial advice.
“It has never been more important for specialist IFAs to make it utterly clear to potential clients that nothing will materialise in the short term so it’s critical they take advice and buy appropriate financial products.”
Janet Davies, joint managing director of Symponia, a national body representing care fees advisers, said the PM’s pledge to cap care costs was nothing more than political manoeuvreing.