Health minister Jackie Doyle-Price has confirmed that the promised £72,500 cap on social care costs is to be scrapped.
The proposed cap was due to be introduced in England after recommendations made by the Dilnot commission back in 2011.
But Jackie Doyle-Price told MPs on 7th December that the government would not be implementing the cap. She stated:
“To allow for a fuller engagement and development of the approach, with reforms to the care system and the way it is paid for considered in the round, we will not be taking forward the previous Government’s plans to implement a cap on care costs in 2020.”
The cap as recommended by the Dilnot commission was put into an Act of Parliament, but this section will not come into force.
Instead, there will be a Green Paper published by Summer 2018 on the future of social care with views collated from “a range of independent experts” “key stakeholders”, “people who use services and their carers”. Additionally Ms Doyle-Price stated that the Government would be hosting a number of round tables to hear a range of perspectives from those representing different constituencies, including carers, service recipients and providers, health services, financial services providers, local government and working age adults.
Once the Green Paper is published, it will be subject to a full public consultation.
Of the decision, Shadow Health Minister Barbara Keeley noted:
“The Minister has today finally confirmed what many of us on the Opposition Benches suspected: they will not be proceeding with their plans to cap care costs by 2020, as legislated for by the House … Meanwhile, very many people are still faced with the catastrophic costs of paying for their care.”
What you can do
If you own more than £23,250 of assets (including your home) you will have to pay for the full cost of your care. Those with assets between £14,250 and £23,250 must pay a contribution. In theory the Local Authority takes over paying the bill once your assets deplete to the £14,250 threshold – however, many people will be asked for a contribution, particularly if they want a particular care home.
Couples who take action now can protect their share of the family assets from care cost fees. This can be achieved through the use of a Care Fees Trust Will which leaves your spouse or civil partner use of your share of the family home for their lifetime. After their death, your share is inherited by your choice of beneficiaries such as children or grandchildren.
Under this arrangement, because your partner does not own your share of the family property, it cannot be taken into account when the Local Authority perform a means test to see if they should pay for their own care. However, it is important to this arrangement that you own your home as Tenants in Common rather than Joint Tenants.
We offer a free information pack with more details of Care Fee Trust Wills, together with an overview of our Grandparent Wills and Lasting Powers of Attorney. Click here for your pack.
Additional image sources: