ABI, unions and charities increase pressure over LTC funding

The leaders of 47 organisations including the Association of British Insurers and various charities and unions are calling on the Government and other party leaders to find a consensus on the funding of long-term care.

The letter is signed by ABI chief executive Otto Thoresen (pictured) as well as Trades Union Congress general secretary Brendan Barber and Macmillan Cancer Support chief executive Ciarán Devane. It says politicians should work together to find a solution to the “growing” and “unavoidable” challenge of LTC funding before Government publishes its white paper in April.

It says: “We urge the Government and the other party leaders to seize the opportunity for urgent, fundamental, and lasting reform, delivering a social care system which can provide the well funded high-quality care and support we would all expect for ourselves and our families.”  

Speaking on the BBC Today programme this morning, Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham said he “is ready to play a constructive part” in talks over the proposals. However, Conservative MP John Redwood said the Dilnot Commission’s report was too focused on protecting inheritances and is “not necessarily” the basis of political agreement

He said: “”This idea that there is a maximum of £35,000 and then everything else is free for everybody may not be affordable. If somebody is very rich why should their estate not make a contribution to that?”

“Looking at the Dilnot report, which is a very good, detailed report, it had a bit too much on trying to protect the inheritance of the children of the elderly people concerned and not quite enough on what I think is the bigger issue: how we make sure no elderly person is faced with inadequate or inappropriate care.”

Redwood suggested the cost of care could be taken out of people’s estates once they have died, an idea put forward by Labour before the last election and attacked by the Conservatives as a “death tax”.

In July, the Dilnot Commission proposed capping individuals’ lifetime contribution to their social care costs at between £25,000 and £50,000, with £35,000 the recommended figure. It also calls for the means-tested threshold, where people must fund the full cost themselves, to rise from £23,250 to £100,000.