‘We just don’t spend enough on care’, says review leader

Andrew Dilnot

The economist who led a cross-party review into support for the care sector has told MPs the current funding is “a stain on us as a nation”.

Andrew Dilnot told MPs that funding for social care is “inadequate” nine years after the Dilnot Commission published its recommended reforms.

He told the Health and Social Care Select Committee: “We just don’t spend enough money on care.

“We want to be a country where those who are most in need are looked after well, we’ve seen the tragedy of what’s happened in the last few months that has affected people receiving care.”

He added: “We want to be a society where we look after people and right now the funding of social care is inadequate…

“That’s a stain on us as a nation.”

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The academic said reforms of the industry were “due now, it’s been due for many years” and told the committee: “In all kinds of ways we have a system that doesn’t work, that doesn’t look after the people who need it well, that doesn’t look after those who are providing the care well, and doesn’t provide an industry that’s attractive to move into.”

Dilnot also called on the public to be more celebratory of people reaching their old age.

He told the virtual meeting: “We hear so much about the burden of ageing, we should be celebrating this extraordinary triumph that people are living longer lives and we should also be very clear that quality of life isn’t necessarily low when you need social care.”

He argued that those in receipt of social care “can have quite high quality of life” and added: “We should be looking at it and talking about it more.”

He continued: “There’s just no doubt we need a change in society’s attitudes towards old age.

“It’s not something that just government can do, I think we all need to be a part of celebrating ageing and celebrating caring.”

Dilnot was asked by the government to chair the Commission on Funding of Care and Support a decade ago.

The commission’s report, published in July 2011 recommended a £35,000 cap on what a person should contribute in total to their care costs, as well as a more generous means testing system for government support.

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