Johnson urged to channel Churchill and cap care costs for elderly

Boris Johnson is urged to channel his hero Winston Churchill and cap care costs for the elderly at £45,000

  • Economist Sir Andrew Filnot said the social care system is a ‘stain’ on the nation
  • Winston Churchill introduced the concept of social insurance back in 1911
  • Adults in England must pay full care costs until assets are worth just £23,250

Boris Johnson has been urged to channel his hero Winston Churchill by capping care costs for the elderly at £45,000.

Economist Sir Andrew Dilnot, who first proposed a cap nine years ago, said England’s creaking social care system is a ‘stain on us as a nation’, forcing thousands to pay sky-high bills for their care.

Last night he called on the Prime Minister to emulate Churchill, who introduced the concept of social insurance in 1911, by bringing in a scheme to cover the catastrophic care costs. 

He told of how Churchill had described the public service as ‘bringing the magic of averages to the rescue of millions’.

‘It’s well known that Boris Johnson has a high regard for Winston Churchill, and one of his great contributions was to get social insurance going,’ Sir Andrew told the Mail

Appearing before the Commons health select committee, Sir Andrew said he recommends a lifetime cap on care costs of £45,000 – higher than the £35,000 he suggested nine years ago to take into account inflation

Adults in England have to pay the full cost of care until their assets – including the value of their house – are worth just £23,250. 

This means thousands are left with little to pass on to their children.

‘It’s well known that Boris Johnson has a high regard for Winston Churchill, and one of his great contributions was to get social insurance going,’ Sir Andrew told the Mail. 

‘He used the great phrase about the magic of averages in 1911 and again during the war in 1943, and what it means is that risk pooling is a great thing.’

Appearing before the Commons health select committee, Sir Andrew said he recommends a lifetime cap on care costs of £45,000 – higher than the £35,000 he suggested nine years ago to take into account inflation.

The comments piled yet more pressure on Mr Johnson – who wrote a biography of the wartime leader in 2014 – to solve the social care crisis as he pledged he would do 

Alongside this, there would be an £8,000 annual cap on the ‘hotel costs’ of living in a care home. This would cost the Treasury around £3.1billion a year, he said.

The comments piled yet more pressure on Mr Johnson – who wrote a biography of the wartime leader in 2014 – to solve the social care crisis as he pledged he would do. 

Sir Andrew said: ‘Right now, the funding of social care is inadequate. [It’s] a stain on us as a nation. In all kinds of ways we have a system that doesn’t work, that doesn’t look after the people who need it.’

He condemned the ‘horrible cliff edge’ at which the elderly arrive when assets fall to £23,250, causing ‘a great sense of unfairness’. 

‘In most parts of the British welfare state, we have a sense of social insurance – that we pool risks and we do things together,’ he said.

‘We see that in our healthcare system, we see that in our social security system.

‘That has a long and wonderful history: Winston Churchill way back in 1911, when introducing social insurance, said it “brought the magic of averages to the rescue of millions”. 

Sir Andrew said the elderly should not be treated as a burden, adding: ‘There’s no doubt we need to change society’s attitude towards old age, towards the experience of disability and those who are caring for those who are old and need support.’ (file photo)

Not all of us will need a great deal of social care but some of us will.’

Sir Andrew told MPs: ‘There’s so much about the way we do things together in the UK that we celebrate – our schooling system, our health system, our transport system, so much that is good.

‘This is one bit of our welfare provision that hasn’t been brought in, and I think that is because in 1948 when the rest of the welfare state was created this was a very small issue. 

‘It’s now a huge issue.

‘I think there is political consensus to be achieved here; there is goodwill. We just need to get this across the line.’

Sir Andrew said the elderly should not be treated as a burden, adding: ‘There’s no doubt we need to change society’s attitude towards old age, towards the experience of disability and those who are caring for those who are old and need support. 

‘We all have to be a part of celebrating ageing and caring.’ 

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