Andrew George MP: ‘State Supported Care for All’
However, he said that those on modest and medium incomes deserve greater protection than the Dilnot Commission had proposed. He also urged the Government not only to accept the recommendations, but to implement them as speedily as possible.
Mr George called for:
• the integration of health and social care under one budget – which would cut unnecessary bureaucracy and administrative cost;
• the establishment of an agreed national standard of care which could not be redefined, reduced or withdrawn as had happened in many local authorities in recent years;
• acceptance by the Chancellor that an additional £2-£3 billion per annum would be provided to support a welfare state for the United Kingdom fit to care for its elderly.
• Honesty about ‘hotel’ charges which will still have to be met by nursing and residential home residents. The Dilnot review does not propose that the state pays the ‘board and lodging’ costs which can be as much £25,000 per annum.
Whilst Dilnot is right that savers and investors should be entitled to protect £100,000 of their capital, personal contributions to cover care costs should be proportionate to wealth – i.e. the wealthy should expect to have to pay above Dilnot’s notional cap of £35,000 for their lifetime care.
Mr George said, “Long-term social care is built on the backs of the lowest paid in this country. Care workers receive the national minimum wage or marginally above for work which many would not be prepared to do. Any plan for the future care for those of us who will need it should set high and improving standards and remunerate those who do the work at a level commensurate with the importance of the work that they do.
“Successive Governments have an extensive toolbox of options to make their indecisiveness appear purposeful – reviews, commissions, consultations and White Papers. The last Government failed to effectively act on the Royal Commission they set up over 12 years ago. Rather than creating further purposeful sounding but time wasting reviews and consultations, the Government should come quickly to a decision and act.”