Social care for elderly people should not cost more than £35,000, a government-commissioned report recommends.

The Dilnot Commission, named after economist Andrew Dilnot, believes that no elderly person needing residential care in retirement should have to spend more than 30% of their assets to receive care.

It insists lifetime contributions for social care for the elderly should fall between £25,000 and £50,000, but that £35,000 is "the most appropriate and fair figure.”

The government would then be responsible to step in and help individuals pay for care once they reached £35,000, the Dilnot commission suggests. Currently, elderly receive government support when they have £23,250 left in their assets.

"The current system is confusing, unfair and unsustainable. People can't protect themselves against the risk of very high care costs and risk losing all their assets, including their house,” said Dilnot, who chaired the commission.

Under the proposals, elderly people in residential care would be responsible for living costs, including food and accommodation.

The government is reportedly poised to discuss the social care report within weeks.

"We will be contacting the Cameron and Clegg offices today to see if we can start to arrange a time for the talks. We see no reason, if they agree, why we can't get going before Parliament breaks up for summer," a senior-party source told The Evening Standard.

Dilnot called this report a "once-in-a-lifetime chance" for the 1.5 million over-85s in the UK.