Welfare boss blasts delay on care cost capping

By Jessica Elgot, July 13, 2012
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A senior communal welfare chief has accused the government of “kicking the issue of elderly care into the long grass” after a new white paper delayed a decision on a cap on care costs.

Economist Andrew Dilnot led a commission into elderly care, which recommended capping lifetime costs for care at £35,000. But ministers said they needed time to consider a higher cap, or a fee to allow families into the “capped” system. A final decision on a cap will be taken at the next spending review in 2014.

Nightingale Hammerson chief executive Leon Smith claimed the government had not addressed the key issues. “This is a continuation of the pattern that we’ve seen from successive governments.

“It has taken them a year and they are still making no commitment whatsoever. They claim it will be reviewed in 2014, but what guarantee do we have that that will happen?”

He pointed out that the proposed £35,000 cap did not cover “hotel costs” such as food and lodging. “That will still have to be paid by the older persons themselves — we reckon that’s around £10,000 a year on average. If a person is in a residential home for three years, that’s at least another £30,000 to add to the £35,000 cap.”

The Dilnot report had been “very good. They identified all the key issues. And are the government serious about doing anything about it? Will the economic situation really have improved that much [by 2014]?”

At Manchester’s major Jewish welfare organisation, The Fed, chief executive Karen Phillips said that “people will have to make provision to accumulate enough resources to ensure they will receive the care they expect in older age. Long gone are the days when people could rely on the state.”

Last updated: 1:12pm, July 13 2012