COUNCIL leaders have written a joint letter to the Prime Minister urging the government to place a limit on charges for elderly care.

Buckinghamshire County Council Leader Councillor Martin Tett - along with his Kent and Hampshire peers - has pleaded for David Cameron to implement the recommendations of economist Andrew Dilnot.

The Dilnot Commission said in 2011 that an individual's contribution towards their care costs in old age should be capped – with £35,000 suggested as a ‘fair amount’.

The three council leaders wrote: “Hardworking families in need of intensive social care support, who have never received any state benefit during their lifetime, are losing their hard earned life savings and homes.

“The government’s swift action in launching the commission so shortly after coming into power was a shrewd and widely welcomed decision.

“However, since the final report over a year ago, this has now been kicked in to the long grass...

“If Didcot was introduced with a cost cap of £35,000, it would enable families to take out insurance up to this threshold – giving families and individuals certainty in planning and providing for their care in old age.”

Cllr Paul Carter, the leader of Kent County Council, has launched an e-petition demanding the Didcot recommendation are in place by 2015 – it had been signed by more than 450 people when this story was published.

The council leaders’ signed off their letter to the Prime Minister by writing: “In a civilised society, providing for our hard working elderly and vulnerable should be a government's top priority."

The Department for Health said placing a limit on costs was the best way to protect families from losing their assets and the government is looking at ways it could fund the estimated £1.7bn cost of implementing the plan.

In a statement, it said: "We still have a long way to go if this country is going to be one of the best places in Europe to grow old.

"There is no doubt capping costs - the principle recommended by Dilnot - is the best model. The key question is how to fund it sensibly given the current deficit.

“We are looking at how to achieve this, along with taking action to ensure people do not have to sell their homes to pay for care.”