Care chiefs press Cameron over welfare reform delays

By Jessica Elgot, May 10, 2012
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Fundamental reforms to address a crisis in the care of the elderly have been delayed again, despite pleas from charity chiefs.

The Jewish Care and Nightingale Hammerson chief executives, Simon Morris and Leon Smith, were among the 78 signatories of a letter to David Cameron this week, calling on him to urgently address "the devastating impact of years of failure to reform".

The letter continued: "While we know decisions, particularly on the funding of care, will be difficult, they must be made now. Older and disabled people and their families cannot wait and will not accept half-measures."

Last year's Dilnot Commission proposed a cap of between £35,000 and £50,000 on the amount elderly people pay towards their care. Those with assets of under £100,000 would not contribute. Under the current system, many people have to sell their homes to fund their care. Implementing the Dilnot recommendations would cost an extra £1.7 billion annually.

But Wednesday's Queen's Speech made no mention of financial reform, frustrating campaigners. It left Mr Smith fearing "that this government, like the last government, will feel this whole issue is too big to handle. Something must happen, but I am not optimistic.The current funding regime is no longer sustainable."

Mr Morris pointed out: "Every day at Jewish Care we are made aware of the massive pressure brought to bear on individuals and their families. We will continue to do everything that we can to ensure that this matter remains high on the political agenda."

Last updated: 7:13pm, May 10 2012