It appears that long-term care has finally made it to the centre stage of political debate so it seems only right that this month’s Retirement Strategy cover interview is with Sir Derek Wanless. Once dubbed Gordon Brown’s most trusted banker, Wanless carried out a Government review of National Health Service funding in 2002 which led to a massive increase in public spending on the NHS.
In 2005, Wanless was asked to review the state of social care for older people by The King’s Fund. While most of the political debate around financial services at the time centred on avoiding a pension crisis, Wanless’s review issued a stark warning about future funding of elderly care services.
The sensible debate on elderly care that was emerging has been overshadowedby politicians chasing headlines
The review painted an uncomfortable picture for politicians in terms of what Wanless believed needed to be spent on prop-osals such as universal entitle- The sensible debate on elderly care that was emerging has been overshadowed by politicians chasing headlinesment alongside a top-up private/ public insurance scheme, even though the sums were far less than the long-term cost of doing nothing. As such, it was conveniently ignored by all parties. Fast forward three years, add an impending general election where politicians are all grasping for the latest big idea and Wanless’s conclusions are finally being listened to.
The recent Government green paper listed a host of possible solutions, including public private/partnerships, a voluntary insurance scheme or a compulsory model.
Unfortunately, but perhaps inevitably, the sensible debate that was emerging has been overshadowed by politicians chasing headlines with promises that will be hard to keep. The costs of Government and opposition proposals are either not being talked about or appear extremely optimistic. Last week’s Scottish Parliament report into the ballooning costs of universal elderly healthcare should have sharpened people’s minds and the figures outlined in our Wanless interview press home the size of the issue.
It was encouraging to hear news that Just Retirement is planning an entry into the long-term care market and it must be remembered that any proposals will only succeed if the industry can be tempted to participate.
Elsewhere in this issue, AJ Bell marketing director Billy MacKay responds to the concerns expressed last month from LV= over low-cost Sipps and Alfa director general Chris Cummings outlines the work Aifa is doing to promote holistic retirement planning to its members. Any feedback or ideas for future issues should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.