Adult green paper: Campaigners slam delay to financial model

Stakeholders have reacted with fury after it emerged that the government would be delaying until next year the publication of its figures on how much a revamped adult care system will cost.

The news came despite care services Phil Hope telling last month’s National Children and Adult Services conference that he would be “disappointed” if the financial modelling underpinning the government’s green paper was not published this month.

Charities and service users had been hoping the data would be available before 13 November when the consultation on the green paper – Shaping the future of care together – closes.

Cost benefit analysis

The figures, prepared by the Personal Social Services Research Unit at the London School of Economics, would have spelt out the relative costs and benefits to individuals and taxpayers of the proposed reforms in the green paper compared to the current system.

Stephen Burke, chief executive of Counsel and Care, said: “It’s extremely disappointing to put it mildly given that we were promised it several times in recent weeks. It makes it much harder in deciding which of the options in the green paper are best under the modelling without knowing what people are expecting to pay for care, and what the taxpayer will pay or what people will get in return.”

David Congdon, head of campaigns and policy at Mencap, said: “I think it’s a case that the Treasury doesn’t want to get involved in any commitments of public expenditure.”

It was thought the figures might be released during the second session of the health select committee’s inquiry into social care tomorrow, where Raphael Wittenberg of the PSSRU will give evidence.

DH: ‘A lot has changed’

A DH spokesperson said: “We asked the LSE to do the modelling for the green paper several months ago, providing them our best assumptions and thinking at the time. A lot has changed since then and we need to take account of updated information, for example from stakeholder bodies. We have asked LSE to do more work for us, taking account of latest developments.

“To publish the LSE modelling now would only give part of the picture. That is why we have chosen to wait.”

She added that the methodology for the modelling was published in July by the PSSRU and the “top level costs and benefits” of the green paper proposals were published in the impact assessment, released alongside the paper.

Personal care pledge

A social care expert said it was likely that prime minister Gordon Brown’s pledge to introduce free personal care at home for people with critical care needs – made two months after the green paper’s publication – had affected the modelling or that the figures were just too large and politically unacceptable.  

The key funding proposals in the green paper are:-

  • A single national entitlement to care.
  • Some state funding for the free personal care costs of all those with eligible needs, with increased funding for those with little wealth.
  • For individuals to fund the remaining personal care costs themselves either directly or through voluntary or compulsory insurance schemes.
  • To retain means-testing for accommodation costs in care homes but give all property-owning users access to a deferred payment scheme where costs would be met up-front by the state and recouped on the sale of the property.
  • For funding from attendance allowance – a benefit paid to disabled older people with care needs – to be brought into the social care system.

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