Committee (6th Day)

Part of Care Bill [HL] – in the House of Lords at 7:00 pm on 16th July 2013.

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Photo of Lord Hunt of Kings Heath Lord Hunt of Kings Heath Shadow Spokesperson (Health), Shadow Deputy Leader of the House of Lords 7:00 pm, 16th July 2013

My Lords, I hesitate to come between my noble friends Lord Warner, Lord Lipsey and Lord Campbell-Savours, and indeed knowing what is good for me I am not intending to do so. I say to my noble friend Lord Campbell-Savours that I understand the point that he is making and I agree that Dilnot is not the answer to many of the really pressing problems that we are talking about.

I want to tempt the noble Earl to say a little bit more on two areas which have been referred to by noble Lords. The first is the complexity for local authorities of what they have to administer. The noble Earl has not really responded in detail on this matter so far. Indeed, it is noticeable that local authorities have not responded. We have received a huge amount of evidence, but not very much from local authorities and the local authority associations. This worries me. I understand why local authorities would be keen to play a prime part in the administration of this new system, but these are genuine concerns about whether there is capacity to make changes of this complexity happen. Nothing would be worse than the new system coming into being and collapsing almost on day one. At the moment, that is my view on what is going to happen. I do not know what the Government intend in terms of testing out the robustness of the system for when it is due to come in. I hope that at some point during our debate the noble Earl will be able to tell us.

Secondly, the next group of amendments deals with the public understanding the complexity of the system being considered, but it seems to me that this issue relates to the point about insurance raised by my noble friend Lord Lipsey. My understanding is that one benefit of full implementation of Dilnot—although I am not sure that the Government have gone down that path—would be that, if the public knew that their liabilities would be capped, there would be likely to be a ready insurance market. A number of us have looked with interest at the comments of the Association of British Insurers and other parts of the insurance industry. I have to say there does not at the moment seem to be much optimism about whether there is going to be a market and whether packages are going to be developed. This may come up in later amendments, but at some point I hope that the noble Earl will give a little more information about the Government’s view of the potential of the insurance market to develop products which the public can understand and will be willing to invest in.