The government should invest in information and advice strategy to help people when they need long-term care, the Dilnot Commission has urged the treasury.
The commission chaired by economist Andrew Dilnot, was set up last year by the government to advice on long term care and support.
The Commission on Funding of Care and Support’s report has confirmed the recommendations trailed ahead of the publication today for a cap on individual’s lifetime contributions to their social care costs. The commission has suggested the contributions cap of between £25,000 and £50,000, with £35,000 the recommended figure.
The commission has also recommended to increasing the current means-tested threshold, where people need to fund the full costs of their care, to £100,000 from the present £23,500.
People should also contribute a standard amount to cover their food and accommodation expenses in residential care, the report suggested. The maximum contribution for the year was suggested between £7,000 and £10,000.
People are ill-informed about long-term care options and often seek advice at the moment of crisis, lamented Lord Norman Warner, a member of the commission launching the report today morning.
A well planned strategy on long-term care should address this, he observed.
“The Government should develop a major new information and advice strategy to help when care needs arise. It is critical that the public has access to better, easy-to-understand and reliable information and advice about services and funding sources”, the commission said in its report.
There should be partnership with services sector, local governments and charities to achieve this, the report suggested.
“As proposed by the Law Commission, a statutory duty should be placed on local authorities to provide information, advice and assistance services in their areas”, it observed.
“These should be available to all people, irrespective of how their care is funded or provided”, the report added.
The reforms recommended in the report should open up new opportunities for the financial sector, Dilnot said in the morning today.
“It has been clear for many years that they system needs reforming, and it needs reforming now. It was recognised by the coalition, and by the last Government. The industry and stakeholder community want to see something done here”, he said.
“We think it is appropriate that there should be a period of discussion and debate, and then there needs to be a white paper. We expect a white paper by Easter next year. That seems to be a reasonable timetable. Our sense is we are not alone in expecting change”, he added.