Andrew Dilnot is a man with whom I have had differences of opinion. But his recommendations on care seem to have some merit to them. As the Guardian notes:
Although the centrepiece of Dilnot's report will be a recommended cap of about £35,000 on individual liability for care costs, which would require underwriting by the government, other proposals will seek to make it easier for people to draw on their assets without having to sell their home during their lifetime.
Dilnot said the proposals would cost the state about £1.7bn a year.
I stress, I have not read the full proposal so I am not in a position to make completely informed comment, but what it seems to be saying is that we need a courageous state – a theme I will be returning to often over the coming months - which has the willingness to act as the agent to ensure that an effective solution to the problem of care in old age is available to everyone in this country irrespective of their means and without the real fear that arises for many old people when faced with the prospect of having to sell their home at the time that they first consider the need for support.
I'm not interested in someone's ability to pass their wealth to another generation: inheritance tax should deal with that anyway. I am interested in the fear that selling a property creates for the living. Dilnot seems to have got his emphasis right on this issue.
If that is what he is saying, he is right to say that we do need a courageous state ( even if he does not use the term). A courageous state is one that is willing to take on these big issues that affect us all and which have for too long have been ducked by politicians of all parties.
Dilnot rightly points out that there is no solution to this problem without a proactive state functioning at central and local government levels. That will be anathema to the Tories but they commissioned this report, and they should stand by it. And if it turns out that it has merit, then Labour should push the point hard: any weakness by the Tories on this issue should be revealed.