Andrea Rozario, Director General of SHIP, the trade body for equity release, comments on the findings of the Health Select Committee’s Report on Social Care.

“The Report addresses some of the key questions surrounding health and social care.  First and foremost, it recognises the need for the Government to identify the issue of the “funding gap”* in social care services.  This is extremely important; how are the Government and financial services industry to come up with solutions to funding care without a full idea of the scale of the problem?

“As part of this, we support the Report’s call for the Government to clarify the likely market for financial products that are designed to pay for care.  By identifying the possible take-up of these products amongst consumers, the financial services industry will be better equipped to develop suitable products.  The Report emphasises the need for the Government to clarify how exactly it will work with the industry to stimulate the market for these products, so that both sides are working towards a common goal.

“The Report also urges the Government to take on board the recommendations made by the Dilnot Commission in July of last year (2011).  Andrew Dilnot told the Committee that establishing a cap on care costs will provide a “major opportunity for behaviour change”.  Indeed, if people know the amount that they will be expected to contribute towards any potential care costs it is possible that they will be more likely to plan for how to meet them.

“It is extremely welcome to see equity release included within the Health Select Committee’s Report and recognised as an “attractive and viable approach” to funding care**.  When giving evidence to the Committee, along with other figures from the financial services industry (November 2011), SHIP highlighted that a person’s home is usually their most valuable asset and it can be frustrating to see its potential ignored by people who might really benefit from the assistance it can offer.  A cap on the amount that individuals are expected to contribute towards the cost of any care they need will help people to plan ahead, but there needs to be clarity over these costs and any other associated ones.   Many may still struggle to save for potential care costs – which is where equity release can play a part in funding a range of options including domiciliary care”




*= The number of people who need care and the level of their care need, offset against the amount of money that is currently in the system to deal with their needs

**= Evidence provided by Professor Martin Knapp, of the Personal Social Services Research Unit at LSE

 Report on Social Care