A Tory former cabinet minister has come up with a social care funding plan that would involve people paying a £16,000 insurance premium after their death.
Lord Lilly, who was social security secretary in John Major’s government, said plugging the hole in social care budgets was the “biggest priority” for the sector.
It comes after Health Secretary Matt Hancock vowed on Friday to publish the details of a cross-party solution by the end of the year.
The state would then cover the costs if a stay in a care home was required in later life, with the fee taken from the sale of a property after death.
The Tory peer said the concept “wouldn’t put a huge extra burden on the public purse” while still covering the “basic costs” of care.
“It’s a very insurable risk,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.
“Only one in four people need adult social care, residential care, in their old age.
“It’s an insurable risk but unfortunately is one the private insurance industry won’t meet. That’s why I’m proposing that we should have a state-guaranteed company which offers this possibility of insurance on a no-profit basis.”
He said the issue “can’t be put off much longer” with the number of people going into residential care “squeezed quite dramatically” from a quarter of the over-85s two decades ago to 15% today.
Lord Lilley said political infighting over plans to tackle the social care crisis – with Labour’s attempts labelled a “death tax” and former prime minister Theresa May’s plan branded a “dementia tax” – was a “sad feature” of the debate.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak raised eyebrows this week when he said work on a solution was continuing, despite Boris Johnson claiming one was finalised after he won the 2019 election.
On Thursday, the Prime Minister’s press secretary, Allegra Stratton, told reporters Covid-19 meant there “hasn’t been the chance to look in detail at what comes next” for the care sector.
The Health Secretary told a Downing Street press briefing on Friday: “I hope that we can come forward with a plan that can work and can carry broad public consensus.”
In 2011, the Dilnot report recommended capping the amount someone should pay for care in their lifetime, fixed at between £25,000 and £50,000.
Sir Andrew Dilnot, who led the review, said the 10-year delay in advancing social care plans was “a stain on our nation”.