Scrutiny committee calls for changes to care bill
The group has today published a report calling for a number of amendments to the bill – which would impose a cap on people’s financial contributions to their care – and arguing that the Government “has not fully thought through” the implications of the reforms.
It says the bill could leave local authorities open to “a deluge” of disputes and legal challenges, and argues that without greater integration of the plans with health and housing policy, the care and support system will be unsustainable.
Among the committee’s key recommendations is that people be given regulated, independent financial advice about the different options available to pay for care, and a national campaign be launched to raise awareness of how people can plan and prepare for their care needs.
Paul Burstow MP, chair of the Joint Committee on the Draft Care and Support Bill, said: “The Government must take stock of its funding for adult care and support and think seriously about whether the transformation we all want to see can truly be delivered without greater resources.”
He added: “The draft bill helps, but we believe it could do more."
Partnership, the annuity provider, said it was delighted by the committee’s recommendation on financial advice.
Chris Horlick, managing director of care at Partnership, who has campaigned for the importance of financial advice in later life to be more widely recognised, said if the proposal is included in the bill it will have “profound consequences for all self-funders”.
He said it would give this group, who make up 43% of all elderly people in care in England, the “security of knowing that they have been advised appropriately how to fund their care”. He added it could also spur many more financial advisers to focus on care fees advice.
Meanwhile, Stephen Lowe, director at specialist retirement income provider Just Retirement, said he is pleased to see the recommendation on financial advice, adding that the proposal for a national awareness campaign is also “imperative if we are to create a meaningful market to help people with funding solutions for care”.
Earlier this month, Lowe said local councils should have a ‘duty’ to refer individuals requiring long-term care to qualified financial advisers when speaking at a conference on long-term care organised by think tank Reform.