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Government has put care funding reforms on the back burner
Posted on 19 Dec 2011 in Press News
A Stratford-upon-Avon lawyer has voiced concern at reports that key parts of care funding reforms are unlikely to be in force for more than a decade.
Sofia Tayton, an associate in the private client department at Lodders Solicitors, warned that the controversial issue of pensioners selling their homes to pay for residential care could drag on until 2025.
It had been hoped a fairer system recommended in the Dilnot Report would be in place by 2015.
Mrs Tayton said: “This is disappointing, but not entirely unexpected as we knew from the moment Andrew Dilnot said an extra £1.7 billion would be required that it wouldn’t be a priority.
“The Dilnot Report made it clear that the way social care is provided and paid for is ‘confusing, unfair and unsustainable’. It recommended that costs should be capped, and the means tested threshold increased. Initially, the Government responded favourably, and plans are in place for a White Paper to be issued in Spring 2012. However, we now know that this will concern itself solely with the quality of care and not how it is to be paid for.
“Dilnot himself is passionate about reform to the funding system and has voiced his frustration with the inactivity.
“So where does this leave us? In the same boat we have been in for years now, with limited opportunities to plan for future care and a confusing system to battle through at an emotionally difficult time. We really do need to tell the Government that on this issue, they must do better.”
Ministers are still said to be planning to bring in laws before the next election to improve standards of care, but are now thinking in terms of putting off complete implementation of the funding reforms until after the 2020 general election.
The Dilnot Report proposed capped contributions from pensioners, with the state stepping in to pay the rest.
It is claimed that at least 20,000 homes are sold each year to fund residential care – money often earmarked as an inheritance for the children.