By Max Clarke

Following a review chaired by notable economist, Andrew Dilnot, a proposed increase to the amount funding for social care has today been announced.

Instead of individuals paying all their care costs until they have assets of less than £23,250, as under the current system, the proposals would mean that those with high care costs would only pay up to a set amount and after that their care costs would be paid for by the State.

“The issue of funding for adult social care has been ignored for too long, Andrew Dilnot, chair of the Commission commented. “We should be celebrating the fact we are living longer and that younger people with disabilities are leading more independent lives than ever before. But instead we talk about the ‘burden of ageing’ and individuals are living in fear, worrying about meeting their care costs.

“Under our proposed system, “ continued Dilnot, “everybody who gets free support from the State now will continue to do so and everybody else would be better off. Putting a limit on the maximum lifetime costs people may face will allow them to plan ahead for how they wish to meet these costs. By protecting a larger amount of people’s assets, they need no longer fear losing everything.”

The current adult social care funding system, conceived in 1948, means that those with assets of more than £23,250 are liable for the full cost of their social care needs. A quarter of 65 year olds today can expect to face care costs of over £50,000 and for one in 10 it will be more than £100,000.

Trades unions have reacted positively to the news, as Brenden barber, General Secretary of the TUC comments:

“The TUC welcomes the increase in funding for the care of the elderly over the next few years, and the news that social care will be free for those who become disabled before the age of 40.

“The introduction of a national eligibility assessment should avoid a 'postcode lottery' and make it possible for those receiving social care to move around the country without losing their care provision.

“The TUC believes that social care should be provided free for those who need it, and funded from general taxation. The Dilnot Commission's proposals could, however, be transformed into this NHS model by continually reducing the level of the cap on care costs. The government must not set too high a cap - a level above £50,000 per person would mean that families could still face losing their homes to pay for the vital care they need.'