Dilnot vs government: How do the social care reform proposals compare?


During a recent Treasury Committee meeting, Sir Andrew Dilnot (pictured) was asked how the social care reform proposals put forward by the government match up to the recommendations he made in his Funding for Care and Support report in 2011.

Below is a summary of his response, explaining the six key differences between the proposals and how the government’s recommendations are more or less generous than those made by Dilnot’s cross-party commission.

Less generous

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There are four ways in which the social care reform proposals put forward by the government are less generous than those made by the Dilnot commission, according to Sir Andrew:

  1. The recommendations that we made in 2011 suggest that the cap on care costs for people aged between 18 and 45 with an already established social care need should be zero. So if you already had a social care need when you entered the labour force at 18, we shouldn’t expect you to make any contribution to your care. That principle was in our report, but the government’s proposals apply the same cap to both working-aged adults with care needs and those who are retired.
  2. The upper capital limit – the £100,000 threshold – beyond which you get no support, is a big increase compared to the £23,000 that it is at the moment, but that £100,000 is less in real terms than we had recommended. So while my commission put forward a £100,000 upper capital limit, the same figure is now worth much less because of inflation.
  3. We proposed a lifetime cap of between £25,000 and £50,000 on social care costs. This is far lower than the £86,000 cap the government put forward.
  4. The recent change that the government proposes, about which I am very disappointed, is that the metering towards the cap would be of accumulated need, minus any means-tested support that the government delivers. This means that my less well-off dopplegänger would hit the cap significantly later in time and having spent exactly the same amount of money as me, as his better-off peer.

More generous

Sir Andrew also pointed out two ways in which the government’s proposals are more generous than either those he proposed or those which the then government put forward in 2015, just before the general election, after which they were put on hold:

  1. Our proposal was that the means-tested system should be made significantly more generous for those in residential care, but not necessarily for those being looked after in their own homes. That’s because we felt that those who are in residential care, whose houses are included in the value of the means test, were hit very hard by this existing system. So we suggested raising the upper capital limit beyond which you get no means-tested support to £100,000 for them, but not for those receiving care in their own homes.

    The government’s proposals increase the upper capital limit to £100,000 for everybody, whether you’re in residential care or having care in your own home.
  2. There’s a very clear argument for expecting people to continue making contributions to their daily living costs when they are no longer living in their own home. Our proposals were to set a fixed level for that. The level that the government is proposing, at £200 per week, is probably about £30 a week in real terms more generous than what was proposed in 2015.

Tags : Sir Andrew Dilnotsocial care reformsocial care reforms
Sarah Clarke

The author Sarah Clarke