Rt Hon Lord Lilley

    Lord Lilley: Does my noble friend agree that the primary obligation of a Government is to provide decent care for those who cannot finance their own care, and that the lowest priority is to provide taxpayers’ funds to enable those who own valuable assets to pass them on to their offspring? If it is possible to enable people to insure against the risk of having to use the value of their home to pay for their own social care, possibly through a state-aided scheme, would that not be desirable? Is he not astonished that the Labour Party, normally the champion of public sector provision and the enemy of channelling public money to the rich, should advocate channelling money to the rich and not a state-funded insurance scheme?

    Lord Kamall: I thank my noble friend for his question and pay tribute to him as one of the authors of a paper on funding social care, which had a number of interesting ideas. I am also very grateful to noble Lords across the House who have approached me with different ideas, including from the Labour Benches, these Benches and the Cross Benches. The Government have looked at a number of plans and have decided on this, but we are in conversation with the private insurance industry, including the ABI and others, to discuss what financial products it can offer in response to the changes. Some people are quite happy to take out insurance policies, but it depends on individual wealth levels and circumstances, and a number of different matters. We hope that there will be a development of the private market, and we are in conversations with the insurance industry. It has told this and successive Governments that, at the moment, there is no private sector solution for social care insurance. I regret that and wish that there was. My noble friend’s idea of the state underwriting it is interesting, but many reports have been written. I know that the noble Baroness, Lady Walmsley, will writhe in pain at this, but we have drafted that letter. Whatever we do, we will be criticised for it, but we will do this. We have set the vision for the first three years and have set the challenge for all of us to come together to provide the best possible social care for the future.