Health Secretary Andrew Lansley has refused to quash rumours that the Government could sideline the social care funding reforms proposed by the Dilnot commission.
The commission’s report, published in July, suggests 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.
When the commission published its report, Lansley promised a “very positive response” but days earlier, stories in the press suggested a rift in the Government, with the Treasury apparently unhappy at the £2bn to £3bn estimated annual cost of the reforms.
The Government is due to publish a social care white paper and a progress report on funding in the spring.
Speaking to Money Marketing at the Conservative conference in Manchester last week, Lansley said: “It would be premature to comment while we are in the middle of engaging with the financial services industry about the reforms. When we publish the white paper and the progress report, we will say what we are going to do.”
Excluding the proposals could open up the Government to pressure from committee chairman Andrew Dilnot, who told a conference fringe event he wants the recommendations implemented “sooner rather than later”.
Conservative MP for High Peak Andrew Bingham says: “Care funding is a big problem which is only going to get bigger. The Government should not kick this into the long grass.”
The Dilnot commission’s reforms are designed to open up a market for insuring against the costs of long-term care. The Association of British Insurers is working on a report looking at the detail of how that could work.