Fears Govt could reject Dilnot’s radical LTC cost cap

The Dilnot Commission is set to recommend a cap on long-term care costs of between £35,000 and £50,000 as part of a package of reforms designed to encourage the insurance industry into the LTC market.

The commission publishes its report on July 4 and will propose the cap on LTC costs alongside an increase in the level of assets individuals can retain and still qualify for means-tested support. The current level is £23,250 but is likely to increase to around £100,000.

However, the Observer yesterday reported the proposals are causing a split within the coalition Government with one senior Liberal Democrat claiming Chancellor George Osborne wants to “strangle the proposals at birth”.

Industry estimates suggest introducing the package of measures would require Government investment of between £2bn and £3bn annually.

The cap on costs is only likely to apply to the cost of care, not the associated accommodation costs of residential care, which can be around half the total costs.

The cap has been lobbied for by a number of insurers. Dilnot hopes the insurance industry will offer products to cover the individual’s costs up to the cap and also any potential extra accommodation costs.

If the proposals are agreed by Government a white paper would be published late this year or early next year with an implementation date likely to be after the next general election.

Nine organisations, including Age UK and the British Heart Foundation have written an open letter to Prime minister David Cameron calling for the Dilnot proposals to be implemented.

It reads: “The social care system has been in growing crisis for years. Our organisations deal every day with people at the most vulnerable points in their lives who are either not receiving any social care support or a small level of help that is grossly inadequate to their needs. As a result, hundreds of thousands of people are forced to struggle alone to cope with everyday tasks.

“We call upon the government to take this opportunity offered by the Dilnot commission and produce a white paper in the autumn detailing how it will create a sustainable and fair social care system, including how it will be funded.”

Saga director general Ros Altmann says: “Unless Andrew Dilnot’s recommendations are taken seriously, acted upon, and not dismissed by politicians as being too hot to handle, then we face a care catastrophe that will make the pensions crisis look like a minor problem by comparison.”