Government under fire over social care cap rules ‘tweak’

Consumers Feel The Pinch With Christmas Around The Corner

The government has come under fire over changes to social care cap rules which critics say mean poorer people will pay the same for their care as those who are wealthier.

The plan’s critics say a new change, which excludes the financial help people get towards their care, means the poorest will have to use more of their assets than those who are better off.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced in September that from October 2023 no-one will have to pay more than £86,000 for care over their lifetime with those with assets between £20,000 and £100,000 receiving some means test support.

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The cap was expected to include all care costs including means-tested funding but the Department of Health and Social Care revealed yesterday that only private contributions will be counted.

This means that a pensioner with a £90,000 home who qualifies for council help could pay the same for their care as someone with a £250,000 property who does not quality for means-tested assistance.

Liz Kendall MP, Labour’s Shadow Social Care Minister, labelled the government’s cap on costs a “con”, adding: “We already knew most people won’t hit the cap because it doesn’t cover board and lodging in care homes, and that at £86,000 the cap would still mean many people will have to sell their homes to pay for their care – against everything Boris Johnson promised.”

“It has now been revealed that the poorest pensioners will have to pay even more, something Andrew Dilnot – who proposed the cap – explicitly ruled out because it was so unfair. That this Tory Government has failed to be straight with those who’ve given so much to our country is a total disgrace, but utterly unsurprising. Our elderly people deserve better.”

Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director at Age UK, said: “The change the government has announced makes the overall scheme a lot less helpful to older people with modest assets than anyone had expected…This feels like completely the wrong policy choice and we are extremely disappointed that the Government has made it – and that it is only announcing it now, rather than two months ago when the Prime Minister set out his plan.”

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “We are committed to delivering world-leading social care across the country and are investing an additional £5.4 billion over three years, which will allow us to begin a comprehensive adult social care reform programme.

“These charging reforms will mean everyone is better off. Compared to the current system, more people will be supported with their social care costs, have greater certainty over what they need to pay and receive higher quality care.”

Tags : FundingLegislationsocial care cap

The author Lee Peart

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