David Burrowes: Social care funding situation is suffering from minority government
The chairman of the Equity Release Council, and former MP for Enfield Southgate, David Burrowes has warned that legislation to find a solution for the social care funding problem shouldn’t be expected “anytime soon”.
Speaking at today’s inaugural National Later Life Adviser Conference, at the Gloucester Rugby Club Business Centre at Gloucester’s ground, Kingsholm, Burrowes highlighted the government’s Social Care Green Paper and what might be the result post-publication.
The Green Paper had been expected to be published in the summer this year, but following the announcement to give the NHS increased funding, it is now anticipated this won’t appear until the autumn.
Burrowes said: “When it comes to the Social Care Green Paper, I’m not sure we’ll see legislation anytime soon on this.
“That’s due to the fact the government does not have a majority in the House of Commons, and there’s not enough cross-party agreement on the measures needed.”
Stuart Wilson, group managing director of the Answers in Retirement Group, agreed that the social care funding issue “had been pushed into the even longer grass again”.
Despite delays to the Green Paper publication, Burrowes suggested that the Equity Release Council, and all stakeholders, should be “on the front foot” when it came to presenting solutions.
He added it was specifically the “opportunity to use equity release as part of a sustainable funding solution for social care”.
Burrowes said: “We would like there to be a recognition of the potential for using housing wealth to help fund social care.
“We would go further and go more radically; indeed, we provided the example of a living inheritance pledge which would ring-fence a certain amount of housing equity in order fund social care needs in the future.”
Burrowes said that a living inheritance pledge could be matched by the government and would help individuals pre-plan for the social care funding required by individuals.
Jacqueline Berry, founder of My Care Consultant, argued that the fragmented nature of the system made it incredibly difficult for consumers to find out who they needed to speak to, let alone work out what care they were entitled to, and how it might be paid for.
She said individuals could be “overwhelmed by the whole process” and suggested advisers could work together with non-regulated ‘care navigators’ in order to provide better outcomes for their clients.