Squeeze pensioner perks to fund social care, says government advisor

Cash to help pensioners pay their fuel bills should be diverted to prop up the “shambolic” social care system, a government advisor has said.

By Emilio Casalicchio

07 Apr 2017

Sir Andrew Dilnot said pensioners were “doing quite well out of the government” and some of their perks should be used to plug the gaps in the care system.

Ministers are set to reveal a draft social care reform plan later this year after campaigners argued small changes to funding levels would do little good in the long term.

Sir Andrew – who six years ago recommended a cap on care costs in a government-commissioned review – painted a grim picture of the state of the sector he described as a touchstone for British society.

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“It is in this country at the moment an absolute shambles. It’s in freefall,” he said during a talk at the Resolution Foundation in London.

“It’s full of people trying to do their very best and it is absolutely chaos.”

He argued the “crushing market failure” of some pensioners paying huge care costs and others paying nothing could be solved with a cap funded by cash from other perks.

He noted that £92bn a year is spent on the state pension and a further £2bn, and raised the prospect of scrapping the so-called ‘triple lock’ ensuring pensions outstrip inflation each year.

“Let’s recast the triple lock, let’s substitute social insurance with an excess for one of the elements of the triple lock,” he said.

“It seems a perfectly reasonable and legitimate thing to do. I also think it would be perfectly reasonable to recast the winter fuel allowance.”

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