BBC and Daily Mail need to correct error on social care costs

Published: 18th Jul 2013

UPDATE: The Daily Mail has now corrected its online article. For details, see the bottom of this post.

Today the government outlined how its new £72,000 cap on care costs will work in practice.

Politicians of all parties had agreed on the need for reform. However, the Labour party has criticised the Coalition for diluting the recommendations of the Dilnot Commission, which proposed imposing a £35,000 cap on how much anyone would pay for their social care. Unlike the NHS, social care is not free at the point of use - and up to one in 10 people are exposed to costs of over £100,000.

In recent days, the Daily Mail and the BBC have both claimed that the government's cap is double that which Sir Andrew Dilnot suggested. But while the maths might look simple, in fact it's not.

Sir Andrew recommended a cap of £35,000 in 2010/11 prices. The Coalition's cap of £72,000 is in 2016/17 prices, as this is when the policy will come into force. 

In other words, the BBC and the Daily Mail are not comparing like with like. Instead of Sir Andrew's £35,000 cap, the government will introduce a cap that's equivalent to £61,000 in 2010/11 prices. 

Earlier this year, Sir Andrew admitted that while he would have preferred a lower cap, his report had recommended a maximum of £50,000 a year in 2010/11 prices. He went on to say, "It doesn't seem to me that it is so different from what we wanted".

We've asked both the Daily Mail and the BBC to correct their articles.

UPDATE 18 July 2013, 5pm (4 hours later)

The Daily Mail has promptly corrected the online version of its article. Previously, it said that the government's cap was "more than double" the £35,000 recommended by an independent review. It now says that it's "almost double".

UPDATE 5 September 2013 (50 days later)

The BBC has finally corrected its online article. It's disappointing that the complaints process required us to send three different complaints before the matter was dealt with and it adds to our mixed experience of using the BBC's process. In any case, we're pleased the matter has finally been settled.

Neither the Mail nor the BBC make any mention of having changed their pieces.


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