Will there be a cap on social care costs?

Published: 26th May 2017

In brief

Claim

The Conservatives haven’t put a figure on their proposed cap on adult social care costs.

Conclusion

The government hasn’t said what the proposed cap on adult social care costs in England might look like. It will be included in a consultation after the election.

“By failing to put a figure for a cap on social care costs, [the Prime Minister] has only added to the uncertainty for millions of older people and their families.”

Andrew Gwynne, 22 May 2017

873,000 people received long-term adult social care provided by councils in England in 2015/16. There were also 245,000 instances of short-term care provided.

The problem with social care is that it can be very expensive. And it’s very hard to know who will need it. So the question is how much the unlucky ones who need it should pay, and how much the government should do to share the risk of these costs?

Earlier this week the Prime Minister announced that there may be a cap on the total amount anyone receiving adult social care in England would have to pay for it.

She said “this manifesto says that we will come forward with a consultation paper, a government green paper. And that consultation will include an absolute limit on the amount people have to pay for their care costs... We will make sure there’s an absolute limit on what people need to pay.”

There are no details on what this cap might look like yet. The Coalition government legislated for a cap of £72,000 in 2014, but this was delayed until at least 2020.

Last week’s Conservative manifesto contained other plans to change how people pay for adult social care in England. It proposed changing the means test for adult social care and when people need to pay for it.

Before this announcement of a cap, Sir Andrew Dilnot who chaired a review of social care in 2010/11, said that without a cap people facing costs for care would be “left helpless”. He also said that “what’s being done on the means test will help some people but the majority of people who are getting care—not in a residential care home but in their own homes—will find themselves worse off”.

If the changes set out in the manifesto go ahead, an estimated 12% to 17% of people in their 70s in England currently eligible for support would no longer be eligible, according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies.


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