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Thursday, 18 May 2017

Author of major social care review 'very disappointed' by Tory reform plans

Written by Jon Vale

The author of a major review of social care has accused the Conservatives of failing to tackle the central problem in the sector with their landmark plans for reform.

Sir Andrew Dilnot (pictured) said the proposals show a "less than full understanding" of the problems of social care and would leave people "helpless" and on their own until their last £100,000.

The former head of the UK Statistics Authority, who was chairman of the commission on long-term care which reported in 2011, also warned the Tory proposals would leave the majority of people getting care in their own home worse off.

Sir Andrew's review found there should be a cap on social care costs, while Theresa May's plans will offer protection from the cost of social care for people with assets of £100,000 or less.

Sir Andrew told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "They're tackling completely different questions and the disappointment about these proposals that we're expecting to hear in the Conservative manifesto later is that they fail to tackle what I'd argue is probably the biggest problem of all in social care, which is that at the moment people are faced with a position of no control.

"There's nothing you can do to protect yourself against care costs, you can't insure it because the privater sector won't insure it, and by refusing to implement the cap that Conservatives are now saying they're not going to provide social insurance for it.

"So people will be left helpless knowing that what will happen is if they're unlucky enough to suffer the need for care costs, they'll be entirely on their own until they're down to the last £100,000, all of their wealth including their house."

He said he was "very disappointed" with the proposals, adding that Mrs May had previously pledged to tackle broken markets.

"This was an absolute open goal for that type of approach and it seems to have been missed," said Sir Andrew.

He acknowledged that changes to the means test for those receiving social care would help some people, but warned they failed to tackle the central problem.

Sir Andrew also told the BBC he was unaware of the proposals from the Conservatives until they appeared in the media.

"The analogy is a bit like saying to somebody you can't insure your house against burning down, if it does burn down then you're completely on your own, you have to pay for all of it until you're down to the last £100,000 of all your assets and income," he said.

"There's been some work going on in the Cabinet Office recently to think about what might come next, there's the proposal for a green paper after the election.

"So I'm very surprised there is such specific information that appears to be new thinking, new thinking that I'd argue shows a less than full understanding of the problems, when there's a green paper that's due to come out later this year."

Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2017, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) Fergus Burnett / PA Wire.