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Long-term care gets a deserved place on agenda

Long-term care seems to have finally made it on to the political radar following the Government’s recent green paper and the Conservatives’ home protection plan proposals.

Under Tory plans released this week, a voluntary scheme with a one-off £8,000 joining fee at retirement would guarantee that all fees for permanent residential care would be paid for the rest of the individual’s life.

The scheme would be run with insurers which are presently very reticent of providing LTC cover due to the high costs involved.

The Government is looking at a number of proposals, including private/public sector partnerships, a voluntary insurance scheme or a compulsory model.

Radical proposals to deal with LTC are needed and a public/private partnership in which the Government takes away some of the insurer’s risk has considerable merit.

But politicians need to tread with caution and give the subject the time and thought it deserves. It must be remembered that LTC costs are not just an issue for retirees.

Most important, any proposals must fit in with broader welfare reforms. The lack of joined-up thinking on welfare policy seen in recent years cannot be allowed to continue.

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