THE Archbishop of York, Dr Sentamu, has challenged the Prime Minister to provide a lasting solution to funding care of the elderly. The Archbishop argues that care of older people is a test of a “caring and Christian society”.
In an open letter addressed to David Cameron and “all taxpayers in England”, he says that the current funding system for the care of the elderly is no longer fit for its purpose, and asks the Government to consider a new agreement.
Dr Sentamu writes that the report of the Commission on Funding of Care and Support, chaired by Andrew Dilnot, which recommended that a cap on individual contributions to social-care costs be set at £35,000, “has shown us the way forward”.
There are almost 1.5 million people aged over 85 in the UK; by 2013, 20 per cent of the population will be over 65. Dr Sentamu writes that the current system “leaves many in fear and uncertainty as they approach one of the most vulnerable periods of their life”.
The Dilnot proposal, which will cost an estimated £2 billion, would, in contrast, provide certainty, and enable people to plan ahead. “It will also help the poorest in our society the most,” Dr Sentamu writes.
“A truly caring and Christian society is one that sees older people, not as a growing and irrelevant burden, but as a rich treasure store of energy and experience and wisdom.” He challenges Mr Cameron to show “leadership of a particularly high order” and says that the Dilnot report presents “a call to action which our country cannot, must not, ignore”.
The Minister for Care Services, Paul Burstow, said: “We agree that social care needs reform and that’s why the Coalition Government acted quickly to establish the commission, chaired by Andrew Dilnot.”