THE Dilnot Report on the funding of long-term care for the elderly was published yesterday; it will be examined carefully and widely debated because an increasing proportion of the UK population is certain to need such care in the coming decades.
It seems that Dilnot suggests those able to do so should be ready to fund their own care of between 35'000 and 50'000 pounds from savings or insurance; beyond that the State should be ready to find the money.
But even that broad approach will meet the objection that the sum might take a lot of the savings of the majority while representing very little for those with substantial resources.
There are some interesting statistics in the report: the typical 55 to 64 year old in the UK is said to have a total wealth of 200'000 pounds; an estimated 20'000 people have to sell their houses each year to pay for care costs which for one in four exceed 50'000 annually.
This report was commissioned by the coalition government which will take the lead in responding to it.
Last week Ed Miliband, the Labour leader, made an offer to engage in cross-party talks on the Dilnot proposals, starting with an open mind and without regard to previous Labour plans. There is certainly much to be said for cross-party cooperation on this complex and important issue.