Social care leaders have warned David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband to avoid political in-fighting and reach a consensus on the funding of long-term care when the Dilnot commission reports next month.
The warning, which came in open letters to the three party leaders, reflects concerns of a repeat of last year’s heated pre-election row over care funding, in which the Tories rubbished Labour’s idea of a levy on estates to fund care as a “death tax”.
The letters have been signed by organisations including the Local Government Association, Association of Directors of Adult Social Care, Carers UK, Age UK and Bupa.
“The increased pressure on public finances is pushing an already over‐burdened system to breaking point,” they said. And without further integration between health and social care services this picture could worsen. It is frail, older people who will suffer unless the issue is resolved.”
They urge all three leaders to respond to the independent commission’s report through measured debate and to work to build a consensus so that reform can take place this Parliament.
The commission is likely to call for increased state funding for long-term care but is unlikely to recommend free care as in Scotland. It is likely to back the introduction of national eligibility criteria for social care, ending the current postcode lottery.
It is unlikely to recommend the introduction of a compulsory care levy, such as an estates tax, but it could go for a system in which people are automatically enrolled in some form of care savings scheme, but they have the option to withdraw.
Summary of likely recommendations of the Dilnot commission