Andrew Dilnot must read the pages of the financial press every week and shake his head in despair.
His 10-point plan of action back in 2011 to reform the UK’s long-term care system has largely been consigned to Whitehall’s circular files.
The Dilnot Commission provided us with more than 400 pages of research and analysis into the state of the UK’s social care. It made careful predictions about an impending crisis in care unless action was taken immediately, not just by government (although it is largely responsible) but also by local authorities, financial advisers, providers, healthcare professionals and individuals.
The government keeps making half-hearted commitments to implementing a cap, and it has been promising us a green paper for the past three years.
But the same people that admitted they could not keep their pledge to give the NHS anywhere near the £350m figure they plastered on the side of a bus have prevaricated year after year on the question of long-term care.
Meanwhile, we are getting older. Our social care system is under incredible strain and the government keeps closing public, local authority-run retirement and nursing homes, despite the rise in the numbers of elderly people needing care.
Added to this, people are not saving enough. Given all the tax take-aways and the sweeping change from defined benefit to defined contribution schemes – which means more of us bear the investment risk – the prognosis is not good.
It is no surprise, then, that Irwin Mitchell’s latest report has claimed we are on the tipping point of an absolute breakdown. In just nine years, if nothing significant happens to stem the tide, Britain’s social care system will collapse.
Clearly, government is supposed to act. But while it is busy taking TV licences away from the elderly, a future generation of vulnerable people will pass their later life in dreadful circumstances.