Lord David Lipsey: Long-term Social Care

Lord David Lipsey gave the first lecture of the Second Series of the Too Difficult Box series on 17 November 2011 on social care

He urged politicians to agree on a long-term plan to cope with the growing financial problem of our aging population.

Lord Lipsey was appointed to the Royal Commission on Funding of the Long Term Care of the Elderly in 1998.

He said: “I have spent an eye-watering proportion of my time thinking about this subject since I was appointed to the Royal Commission.

“The problem of long-term care comprises two issues. The first is that people live much longer today – so more people require care at the end of their life. The second is the question of who pays for care – the state or the individual and their family?”

“A policy for care of the elderly has to endure for many years. People have to know what to expect and what to plan for. It is a bad idea for policy to yaw from one extreme to another as governments come and go.

“Individuals need, society needs, to plan well ahead a stable framework in which care can be provided.

“That is why consensus is so important to solving the long-term care issue. People have to know that if, say, they buy insurance now, they won’t prove to have wasted their money later because some Brownite government suddenly decides to pick up the tab itself.

“Unfortunately, society’s institutions do not necessarily make such a long-term approach easy. Politics has traditionally revolved around a four to five-year timetable governed by elections. Of course, a five-year plan for long-term care is not enough.”

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