Fixed payment scheme proposed

People should pay a fixed proportion of their long-term care costs, with the state contributing most, to ensure an equitable system,a report recommends.

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation study says the UK’s care system, barring Scotland, which introduced free personal care in 2002, should move towards the model in Japan, where the state pays 90 per cent of care costs.

This would cost £2bn extra a year in the UK if the state paid 80 per cent of all care home fees and domiciliary care costs and service users contributed a 20 per cent copayment,it says.

The recommendation is made in a final report from the JRF’s Paying for Long-term Care Programme, which ran from 2003 until this year.

It comes a month after Sir Derek Wanless’s report into care funding said older people in England should be guaranteed a minimum level of care to ensure a more equitable system.

To prepare the way for the new system, the JRF also suggests five affordable reforms to start funding care “more fairly, adequately and coherently”.

These include doubling the personal expenses allowance for people supported by councils in care homes from £19.60 a week.

This would cost £250m a year and allow residents to afford a few “modest purchases”, the study says.

It also suggests that all care home residents could be charged for  non-care costs and the proceeds of around £180m redistributed.

Another proposal is for the government to pilot a voluntary equity release scheme for home-based care, enabling home-owners to access capital tied up in their properties.

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