Dilnot report: Where's the money?

Care worker with elderly man Over the next 20 years, the numbers needing care are predicted to rise from just under 6m to 7.6m

Everyone agrees something should be done. Everyone agrees this is a decision for the long term.

Everyone agrees it would be best to take politics out of the issue of long term care for the elderly.

True today. True anytime over the past decade. That, though, is not enough to make something happen.

Andrew Dilnot believes that he has cracked the intellectual problem with his proposal for a cap on the personal costs of care.

It is designed not just to reduce people's fears about losing their house and savings but to persuade the financial services industry to come up with products which will help people plan for the possibility of needing care in their old age - not just insurance policies but also equity release schemes and plans to allow people to get less out of their pension when well and more when in need.

What he has not cracked - although he has tried - is the political problem.

As the newspaper coverage of this report shows, people tend to focus not on the good news - the costs that are capped - but on the bad - the costs below the cap or so-called "hotel costs" which are not covered by the cap.

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The fear for ministers is that if they drive the Dilnot plan through they will be blamed for the bad and given no credit for the good while ending up having to find £2-3bn extra to pay for it.

What all this may reveal is that, once again, voters will the ends but not the means.

In other words, people believe that they should get free care when old (after all, goes the argument, health care is free) while not be willing to pay for it through taxes when working or through their savings after retirement.

Thus - as I posted on Friday - their challenge to Dilnot's backers will be "tell us where you'd find the money".

One modest proposal campaigners for the elderly may wish to consider - how about inviting politicians to stop giving wealthy pensioners winter fuel allowance, free TV licences and free bus passes?

Nick Robinson, Political editor Article written by Nick Robinson Nick Robinson Political editor

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  • rate this

    Comment number 99.

    Dilnot has my sympathy.It is probably impossible to create a truly fair system of care for the elderly,that will please everybody.

    I know several intelligent,fit people who have made the deliberate choice not to work and contribute to society.They know their basic needs will be taken care of,not by the overpaid at the top of the pile but by the efforts of the hard-working majority.

  • rate this

    Comment number 98.

    Thanks to this risible new 'commenting' system this cannot be developed as it should be, so I'll content self with this: http://3bl.me/88wax2 Best rated

    Speaking of which, given the option some seem to be disliking anything, no matter how well argued, that doesn't suit.

    Like much these days, the system is the problem & unfit for purpose, yet prevails by creating bread & circuses. Well, circuses.

  • rate this

    Comment number 97.

    fubar 92

    Abramovich, say. Although not dead. My point (a good one) is that to assume reaching old age with little accumulated wealth means you've been workshy all your life ... is nonsense.

    Any case, you believe in means-tested rather than universal benefits (don't you?) so I don't know why you're pretending to disagree with me on this.

    Can pay MUST pay (but capped at 25% of net worth).

  • rate this

    Comment number 96.

    Of course. Everyones perspective is dependent on their persperctive - ground breaking analysis

    You have still yet to, in any comment, really set out what you believe is fair though. it's very easy to criticise others opinions when you do not set out your own.

    What is your vision of fairness on the cost of long term care issue?

  • rate this

    Comment number 95.


    So self acknowledgement of the central charge. Akin to Obama's comment of "if you put lipstick on a pig.... it is still a pig."

    So, policy/baggage or not... still a self confessed BPUHW. Minus lipstick. Perhaps. Then again, they do say recognition of having a problem is the first stage of solving it. Kudos for recognising the affliction.


Comments 5 of 99



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