And Sir Andrew Dilnot insists the Government should revive his plans so that no household pays more than £45,000 for looking after the elderly. The economist told MPs: “We just don’t spend enough money on care.” He called the current arrangements “inadequate” and blamed them for causing “a great deal of unfairness”.
Sir Andrew, who originally set out plans for reforming care for the elderly nine years ago, admitted his proposed limit would increase the taxpayer bill by £3billion a year.
But in his plea to Boris Johnson, Sir Andrew invoked the spirit of Churchill, who helped introduce welfare measures under the Liberal government before the First World War.
The expert said: “We have in most parts of the British welfare state a sense of social insurance that we pool risks, we do things together.
“That has a wonderful history. Winston Churchill, in 1911 when he was introducing social insurance, said he thought this brought the magic of averages to the rescue of millions.”
Sir Andrew chaired the Commission on Funding of Care and Support and his 2011 report recommended a £35,000 cap on what a person should contribute to their care costs. It also said there should be a more generous means-testing system for support.
In today’s terms, that figure has risen to £45,000. But he urged the Government to implement his plan.
The Prime Minister made a general election pledge to build a social care system that would “give every person the dignity and security they deserve”.
Whitehall officials say he is working to build a cross-party consensus on reform proposals “at the earliest opportunity”. But Sir Andrew voiced concern about the lack of progress.
He told a hearing of the Commons Health and Social Care Committee: “We’ve seen the tragedy of the last few months that has affected people receiving care. We want to be a society where we look after people. Right now, the funding is inadequate.”
Sir Andrew said the current system of means testing households to decide the level of funding was letting down both the needy and those with savings to pay for some care.
He added: “It’s inadequate both for the means-tested system that looks after those who simply cannot look after themselves.
“We’re not putting enough money into that – that’s a stain on us as a nation. But we also have a social care funding system that doesn’t help the rest of the population that have resources to prepare and look after themselves well.
“We have a system staffed by wonderful people doing great work but not really adequately supported. The managers and investors are also working in an industry where it’s very difficult to be a provider of support.
“In all kinds of ways, we have a system that doesn’t work, that doesn’t look after the people that need it well, that doesn’t look after the people who are providing the care well and doesn’t provide an industry attractive to move into.
“It has been due for many years but now seems like a really appropriate time.”
Sir Andrew, warden of Oxford University’s Nuffield College added: “The most urgent priority is to make sure that the means-testing system is adequately funded.”
He also told the virtual meeting: “We hear so much about the burden of ageing. We should be celebrating this triumph that people are living longer and we should also be clear that quality of life isn’t necessarily low when you need social care.
“We need a change in society’s attitudes towards old age. It’s not something that just government can do, we all need to be a part of celebrating ageing and caring.”
Lord Forsyth of Drumlean also told the committee: “This is a system which is grossly underfunded, which is unfair in the way it operates and which undervalues the people who do such a magnificent job.”
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesman said: “We will bring forward a plan that puts social care on a sustainable footing to ensure the reforms will last long into the future.”