Shadow care minister warns of LTC 'misinformation scandal'

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The shadow minister for care and older people Liz Kendall has warned of a ‘misinformation scandal' in the delivery of long-term care advice.

During a Commons Debate on the Care Bill, she said there was a further debate to be had on the level of involvement from independent financial advisers.

Currently under Clause 4 of the Care Bill councils need only refer people to "independent advice" for instance charities and other organisations, not explicitly financial advice.

The minister warned that many elements of the care bill were complex and as the Bill stands, anyone could provide advice about care finances.

She said there were no requirements to ensure that the advice given would be of a high quality or provided by people who are properly trained.

Kendall said: "I am genuinely concerned that we could end up with, even if not mis-selling, some kind of misinformation scandal because of people giving financial advice that simply is not borne out by the facts.

"This amendment is not calling, which some have suggested, for the independent financial advisers giving advice about this matter to be regulated. I think that there is a debate to be had about that. The amendment is the very least that the Government should accept. Local authorities should have some safety system to guarantee that the people giving independent financial advice-this is not advice about care services-are appropriately trained and have proper skills."

Kendall concluded: "Yes, we want Age UK and others to provide information and advice on services, helping us support those things, but we only want financial advice to be given by properly regulated independent financial advisers, otherwise it will be a big disaster. The Bill is not clear about that."

However, care minister Norman Lamb argued there were already sufficient provisions in the Bill around the delivery of information and advice, and no further amendment was required to make that happen.

The Bill has today reached the committee stage in the House of Commons.

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