Advisers fear that long-term care funding proposals may be kicked into the long grass after new care services minister Norman Lamb said he is is “no rush” to push ahead with reforms.
Andrew Dilnot’s long-term care plan, published in July last year, calls for a cap on individuals’ lifetime contributions to social care costs of £35,000, with any costs above this level met by the Government.
Speaking on Radio 5 last week, North Norfolk MP Lamb, who replaced Paul Burstow in this month’s ministerial reshuffle, refused to give a timetable for reforms but said the Government accepts Dilnot’s capped cost principle.
He said: “Do not expect a rush to make an announcement on it. I want to get it right. I have been in the job for 10 days so I want to make sure I get on top of the issues, take all the advice from officials and make a proper decision so everyone understands how the system will work.”
Equity Release Council director-general Andrea Rozario says: “We need to allow the new minister some breathing space because he has just been appointed but we cannot let the reforms be kicked into the long grass. We need to press him on his thoughts on the white paper and the bill when he is established in the role.”
Artavia chartered financial planner Chris Dunston says: “The Government wants to kick this into the long grass. It does not want to face up to the fact that we have an ageing population that requires care that is becoming ever more expensive.”
Partnership director of corporate affairs Jim Boyd says fully funded care plans should be finalised by the next election, but plans must be developed to ensure the Government does not face unlimited liability for funding social care once the £35,000 individual cap is reached.
Boyd says: “It has to be done in a sustainable way that does not put open-ended commitments on the Treasury.”
The Dilnot report estimates its proposed reforms would cost the Government £1.7bn a year.