The Local Government Association (LGA), alongside the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services and Society of Local Authority Chief Executives, have submitted a proposal calling for a national care loans scheme to help people meet the cost of care in their old age.
The deferred payment scheme would work similarly to student loans with people borrowing money that is set off against their estate to help them manage the shift towards individual responsibility to meet personal care costs.
It suggests that already tight council budgets will be unable to meet the shortfall and the government may have underestimated the cost of reform. It also states that there will need to be a revolution in the provision and payment of care if the government wishes to continue increasing the number of older people residing in their own homes while receiving a good quality of care.
Sir Merrick Cockwell, Chairman of the Local Government Association, said “Deferred payment schemes can offer peace of mind to people worried about how they are going to pay for care in old age. This is an option which councils would like to be able to offer to as many people as possible, but we have limited funds that restrict us from doing so. We suggest the government considers an option for a separate national organisation, similar to the Student Loans Company, to run the deferred payment scheme on behalf of councils. This needs to be part of a huge overhaul of the system that brings care up to a standard fit for the 21st century and ensures that our increasingly ageing population can lead happy, healthy, independent lives long into their old age.”
He added “Significant cuts to council funding, and a rapidly growing ageing population, have taken a toll and the quality of care which people are receiving has been compromised as a result. Councils have worked very hard to protect social care services from the full impact of cuts. However…to substantially raise the standard of care on a nationwide basis, more money needs to be put into the system.”
Alongside this proposal, councils have also called for:
- A new national body to underwrite the deferred payment scheme;
- A greater focus on helping people lead healthy and independent lives for longer;
- Clarity from the government on how daily living costs will be met for those unable to pay;
- A campaign aiming to increase awareness among the public on preparing to pay personal care costs in later life; and
- An announcement from the Chancellor addressing how the £3.8billion Integration Transformation Fund for social care will be allocated to councils in 2015.