Lifetime cap on social care costs scrapped
With an ageing population, the future funding of adult and elderly social care has been a hotly debated problem. A recent announcement by the Government that it will not be implementing the £72,000 lifetime cap on social care costs (promised by David Cameron) suggests that a solution remains a long way off.
The cap was due to come into force in 2020 but has now been scrapped to make way for a new consultation process and “to allow for fuller engagement” in the Government’s plans to produce a Green Paper on long-term social care reforms.
It appears that plans to limit care fees have not been completely abandoned – a statement by the Secretary of State for Health emphasises that the Prime Minister is clear that the consultation will include proposals on how to limit care fees. Click here to read the full statement.
The announcement comes not long after the Government’s U-turn in relation to social care funding. Currently, the state pays for care where an individual has assets of £23,500 or less and the value of a person’s property is taken into account only if they live in a care home. The Government’s pre-election plan to raise the threshold to £100,000, but to include the value of property whether or not an individual resides in their own home or in a care home, was met with a fierce backlash, with the opposition arguing that those receiving domiciliary care would be far worse off.
The Government plans to publish its Green Paper in summer 2018 and will work with key experts, stakeholders and users of the social care system to develop the reforms. The chairs of relevant all-party parliamentary groups will be invited to discuss the proposals and once published, it will be subject to a full public consultation.
In the midst of all this uncertainty, there is one thing of which we can be certain; with recent research finding that the average cost of a care home is £92,000, based on a two-and-a-half year stay, a solution for anyone needing care whether at home or in a residential setting cannot come fast enough.