UK Care System: Is it time for change?
Social Care reviewer, Andrew Dilnot, calls for new tax as British system is the “most pernicious means-test in the whole of the welfare state"
7th April 2017
By Jacqui Lee
With the average person spending roughly £20,000 on Social Care during their lifetime, and a worrying 10% requiring care costing over £1 million, Andrew Dilnot has condemned our Social Care system and called for a new tax to help fund care for those that need it. (Ref: The Guardian)
Under the current system, local authorities will carry out an assessment, assessing needs and an individual’s ability to carry out “normal” daily tasks. They also consider their finances, looking at two things; their capital and their income.
Those with assets between £14,000 and £23,350 have their care costs covered. With the promised changes to raise the upper limit to £118,000 delayed from April 2017 until April 2020, Mr Dilnot believes that this creates a “sense of inequity and encourages a significant amount of cheating”. (Ref: The Telegraph’s “Guide to Long and Short Term Care”)
The proposed changes to the means test will run alongside the Government’s Care Act legislation where a “care cap” will be introduced for anyone over 65, capping their care payments at £72,000. It is worth noting, the cap will only apply to the costs of care and will not include fees or meals. (Ref: Age UK)
Yesterday, Mr Dilnot highlighted his belief that Social Care should not be means-tested, and that the State Pension triple lock should be reviewed and appreciate a new Social Care guarantee.
His commission report finalises that individuals should be responsible for the first £35,000 (providing they have £100,000 in assets), after which the Government should provide free care. Despite this report being well received, changes were never brought in, opening questions about the future of our welfare state.
Dismissing claims that a “decent care system” is unaffordable, Mr Dilnot proposed that “it would be entirely reasonable to look again at the triple lock, and substitute some of the more expensive elements” creating a “new triple lock with Social Care included”. In essence, the money saved would bridge the gap and could be used to pay for the cap. (Ref: The Guardian)