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Govt pledges LTC funding reforms ‘before March Budget’

Earl Howe

The Government is promising proposals on long-term care funding “shortly” and before the Budget, set for March 20.

Speaking in the House of Lords this week, health minister Earl Howe said the Government is currently writing laws to implement the Dilnot Commission’s proposals.

Andrew Dilnot proposed a cap of £35,000 on care cost, excluding accommodation costs, but the Government is reported to be looking at a £75,000 cap.

Questions remain over what level the cap will be set at and when the rules will come into force.

Howe said: “The prime minister and deputy prime minister have committed to announcing further details before the Budget to cap the potentially enormous costs of long-term care.

“The Government has agreed with the principles set out in the Dilnot Commission and we expect further details shortly.”

He also revealed the Government has begun drafting clauses for the draft care and support bill, currently in pre-legislative scrutiny, that will implement Dilnot.

Labour Baroness Jill Pitkearthley blasted the “unacceptable” uncertainty around the Government’s proposals.

She said: “It is the uncertainty that is the most difficult thing for vulnerable people and their families to cope with. They are uncertain about the services because of problems with local authority budgets and they are absolutely uncertain about what their financial liability will be.

“Saying the Government will accept the Dilnot proposals without saying when or what level is only adding to that uncertainty in a most unacceptable way.”

But speaking to Money Marketing, Labour peer Lord David Lipsey says the proposals are expected “imminently” and it is a “tremendous victory”.

He says: “You can either look at the glass half full or half empty. It has taken a long time but almost miraculously, considering the mood music half way through, we are going to see a cap introduced. It is a tremendous victory.”

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