Time running out to ensure advice referrals in Care Bill

Partnership is continuing to lobby for the inclusion in the Care Bill of a provision demanding referrals for self-funders of long-term care to regulated advisers, but its director of corporate affairs has warned the general election in 2015 leaves little time to turn heads in government.

Speaking to FTAdviser, Jim Boyd, director of corporate affairs at Partnership warned there is “limited opportunity” for government to resolve major legislation before attention inevitably turns to the business of re-election.

He said: “A Coalition with distinct ‘grass root’ identities and an opposition that believes it can win power, means that distraction within the political process may be significant. The impact of May’s European Elections and September’s vote on Scottish Independence may only exacerbate fault lines.”

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In 2013 Partnership was delighted that the draft Bill, which is expected to become law in the first half of 2014, explicitly mentioned ‘financial’ information and advice as part of the information and advice offer, Mr Boyd said.

Currently 43 per cent of those in the care system are self-funders and Partnership and others such as sector rival Just Retirement have been campaigning with government, policymakers, charities and local authorities since 2011, Mr Boyd added.

However, wording in an earlier draft demanding that this information is provided by regulated advisers had been removed, with some claiming this reflected nervousness among local authorities over referrals to financial services firms in the wake of scandals over recent years.

Mr Boyd said: “We now have to ensure that guidance or secondary legislation specifies that where appropriate this is ‘regulated’ financial advice.

“We also believe that it is important for all stakeholders to call upon the government to lead a public information campaign, of the same level that we saw recently with Nest, to educate the general public that many will have to pay for their care and should prepare to do so.

“That would be a proper manifesto commitment for all political parties.