BRITS should pay no more than £45,000 towards the cost of social care in their lifetime, a leading economist has told MPs.
Sir Andrew Dilnot said a cap would “take away the fear” that families will be forced to sell their home to pay for help in old age.
He described the current lack of funding for the likes of care homes as a “stain on the nation” and called for urgent reforms.
Sir Andrew, who wrote a flagship report on the issue in 2011, said the scheme would cost the Government £3.1billion a year.
And he said there is no reason why social care should not be funded through taxation in a similar way to schools and the NHS.
He told the Commons Health Committee: "We just do not spend enough money on care.
“We have a system that doesn't work, that doesn't look after the people who need it well, that doesn't look after those who are providing the care well, and doesn't provide an industry that's attractive to move into.”
Some people are forced to spend hundreds of thousands of pounds for help with cooking, washing and dressing.
They may be forced to sell their home to cover the cost while patients with other illnesses get free care on the NHS.
Sir Andrew added: “There's so much about the way that 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 which hasn’t been brought in.
"In 1948, when the rest of the welfare state was created, this was a very, very small issue.
"It's now a huge issue and I think there is political consensus to be achieved here, there is goodwill. We just need to get this across the line.
"We need to look to the Prime Minister, to the Treasury, to all parties in government and to our wider society to say this is a really, really important challenge for us.
“There is an opportunity here to do something really good that can help people who are receiving care and those who love them have a much better life than they have at the moment and to make the economy work more efficiently.
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“Let’s just do it.” Sir Andrew led the cross-party Dilnot Commission into social care funding in 2010, with his report published the following year.
It suggested introducing a cap of £35,000 but successive governments have still not decided the best way to fund the system.
Sir Andrew said of his cap yesterday: “You're giving real assurance to most people who are not covered by the means-tested system that they're not going to lose everything - you're taking the fear away.”
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