A care cap could help

THIS week the government gave its long awaited response to the Dilnot Commission into funding of elderly care.

It is a real concern in my constituency, which has a greater proportion of older people and, like elsewhere, the population is ageing.

The government proposes a cap on care costs of £75,000 and a rise in the level of assets older people can hold and still get state support.

I agree with the government when they say people should have greater certainty about the amount they will have to pay and that the lottery of local services needs to end.

I also agree people who have worked hard to save for their future should not risk ruinous costs. A cap will help.

However, the government’s proposals look modest to say the least. The cap is much higher than Dilnot proposed, and as a result some with modest wealth will pay more.

There were also some raised eyebrows when the government said private insurance companies would develop schemes to allow people to save towards costs.

A generation burned by endowment mortgages may well be concerned.

There is also the issue of the cost of care and support now as the government cuts £1.3bn from council budgets.

Already, increasing numbers of older people cannot get the support they need and have to pay for it.

Since the NHS was set up, care has been divided between the physical care that hospitals provide and mental health and social care often provided by councils. We need integrated health and social care to spend the money better and to allow people to live their lives more independently.

When that happens this week’s proposals may look modest indeed.