The Government’s response to long-term care funding proposals set out by the Dilnot Commission has been delayed because of arguments over costs, according to reports.
The Dilnot commission’s report, published last July, calls for a cap on individuals’ lifetime contributions to social care costs of between £25,000 and £50,000, with £35,000 the recommended figure. The response was first expected alongside a Health and Social Care white paper in April.
The Financial Times reports that the Queen’s Speech, due on May 9, will highlight the importance the Government attaches to social care reform. A white paper will now be published in June, however, no formal response to Dilnot’s proposals will come with it. A progress report on cross-party talks over long-term care funding will be published alongside the paper instead.
The Treasury has baulked at the costs entailed in the Dilnot proposals, thought to be around £1.7bn a year. In January senior Liberal Democrat sources told Money Marketing Dilnot’s proposals are expensive, bureaucratic and regressive.
The coalition’s white paper on health reform, published almost two years ago, promised legislation to establish a sustainable legal and financial framework for adult social care would be brought forward in the 2012/13 session of Parliament. Instead, ministers will be given “drafting authority” to prepare legislation, which will not be formally introduced until the following parliamentary session and is unlikely to become law any earlier than late next year.
At the Conservative Party conference last October, Health secretary Andrew Lansley refused to quash rumours that the Government could sideline the Dilnot reforms. Dilnot told a fringe event in Manchester that the coalition has a “moral duty” to reform funding of social care having included it in the coalition agreement.