“We have been clearer about having this £100,000 level, which, you know, makes it very clear that people don't have to sell their homes.”
Priti Patel, 18 May 2017
“Well, Priti’s completely wrong … I mean, there is no cap on the amount of money that you have to pay.”
Vince Cable, 18 May 2017
Both panellists seem to be talking past each other, although we don’t know the full details of the new scheme the Conservatives are proposing.
The Conservative Party manifesto released this week outlines three key changes to social care funding in England.
First, people will be eligible for social care funded in part or in full by their council when they have wealth below £100,000. Currently, that cut off point is £23,250.
Second, the value of people’s houses will always be counted towards that figure. At the moment it is not counted for people who receive care in their own homes.
Last, the manifesto says that everybody will be able to pay for social care by having their home sold after they die. Previously, this only applied to people in care homes or nursing homes: it will now extend to people getting care in their own homes as well.
Under the current system, councils can also refuse to offer this provision to people who have more than £23,250 in capital and savings and people whose dependent relatives or spouse rely on the same house. The manifesto does not say whether this will remain the case.
As Priti Patel’s claim implies, nobody will have to sell their homes within their lifetime under the proposed system, although we don’t yet know whether some people will still be ineligible for deferred payment. However, this isn’t due to the £100,000 asset threshold: it’s a separate provision.
Vince Cable is also right that as long as their assets do not deplete to below £100,000, under these proposals there would be no limit to how much people may have to pay for social care. The Coalition government had discussed introducing cap on spending of £72,000, but this was delayed until at least 2020.