Funding fears and confusion over Dilnot

Posted on April 27th, by geoff in Caring Times, Caring Times head. No Comments

Caring Times, May 2013

National older people’s charity Independent Age is concerned that council spending on social care will be cut still further as a consequence of a planned reduction in central government’s funding allocation to local authorities. The charity also points to the confusion surrounding the Government’s partial adoption of the Dilnot proposals to cap an individual’s contribution to the cost of their own care.

“We are extremely worried to see a new further one percent reduction in local council budgets from 2014-15 announced in the Budget, on top of those previously confirmed,” said Independent Age chief executive, Janet Morrison.

“This will inevitably mean cuts to essential social care services, which make up most councils’ largest item of expenditure, and extra pressure on older people, their families and carers already struggling to access care and support.

“These further cuts threaten to overshadow the Chancellor’s decision to bring forward the cap on social care costs to 2016, which will benefit older people in the future.”

Ms Morrison said the Chancellor George Osborne had muddled the explanation of the proposed cap, saying that people’s savings above £72k would be protected whereas in fact the £72k figure refers to the maximum that an individual will – in theory at least – have to pay for social care.

“If the Chancellor doesn’t understand the policy, what hope is there that ordinary people will?” said Ms Morrison. “This reinforces the vital need for a national campaign to help people understand the new policy and plan for it.

“In the budget report, the Chancellor says that the £72k cap will apply to ‘reasonable’ costs. The difficulty in defining what is ‘reasonable’ leaves huge potential for dispute and reinforces the call of the parliamentary committee considering the draft social care bill for an easy-to-access social care tribunal system.”

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