The Government is poised to debate the recommendations of the Dilnot Commission, published in July last year, with a White Paper scheduled to be published in April.
The joint letter, signed by the largest ever collaboration of care organisations, including Age UK, Mencap, the English Community Care Association, the Alzheimer’s Society and Disability Rights UK, will be followed on Tuesday 6th March by a mass lobbying outside Westminster, as care campaigners, care workers, older and disabled people look to show their support for the reforms on the same day that Lansley meets with other MPS on the issue.
The joint letter praises the Coalition’s approach towards care reform upon coming into power, saying: ‘The groundwork for action has been laid. Your Government acted quickly to set up the Dilnot Commission on funding social care which reported last year. Alongside the Law Commission recommendations about community care law, this report sets out a roadmap for a sustainable and clear social care system.’
However the letter was keen to highlight the record of previous administrations on care reform: ‘Years of underfunding, combined with rising demand have resulted in a social care system that is in crisis: an unfair and confusing postcode lottery which is now facing additional cuts. This is a challenge which successive Governments have failed to overcome – but we cannot wait any longer.’
In stark comparison to the political turmoil surrounding the Government’s Health and Social Care Bill all three major parties have so far supported a consensus on care reforms, with Labour’s shadow health secretary Andy Burnham saying earlier this year that the proposals were ‘an important first step in reform of the care system in England’.
Key recommendations of the Dilnot Commission include a cap of between £35,000 and £50,000 on individual care costs, the full integration of ‘personalised budgets’, universal access to means-testing, greater protection for housing assets, more practical early intervention procedures and an end to local authority differentiation on costs, together with the support of more sustainable care insurance packages.
Article by: Richard Howard, News Editor, 5th March 2012.