Conservatives pledge overhaul of social care funding

Measures in the party's election manifesto include changing the way people pay for care and investing in fast-track training schemes

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Photo: Gourmet Photography/Fotolia

By Mithran Samuel & Luke Stevenson

A re-elected Conservative government would make home care users contribute to their care out of the value of their homes and ditch plans to cap people’s care liabilities.

The proposed overhaul of care funding was unveiled in the party’s manifesto, published today, which also included plans to fund schemes to recruit older professionals into social work.

Under the care funding plans, people receiving care in the home would have their housing wealth taken into account as part of their assets when calculating care charges in the same way as care home residents currently do.

Secondly, people in both settings will only have to contribute to care costs from their capital above a floor of £100,000. The manifesto said that this would ensure that, “no matter how large the cost of care turns out to be, people will always retain at least £100,000 of their savings and assets, including value in the family home”. As now, people’s income would also be taken into account when calculating care charges in both settings.

Changes

Currently, people with assets less than £14,250 (including their home for those in residential care) do not contribute from their capital, while those with assets above £23,250 are not entitled to local authority funding. Those with assets between £14,250 and £23,250 make some contribution from their capital. Under the Tory’s plans, it is not clear whether the £100,000 would replace the lower capital limit (£14,250), the upper capital limit (£23,250) or operate as a single capital limit below which no contributions from a person’s capital is sought, as happens in Wales.

The third plank of the reforms is that deferred payment agreements, which allow care home residents to defer the costs of their care during their lifetime, will be extended to people receiving care at home.

The proposals mark a significant shift on the party’s previous plans to implement a £72,000 cap on people’s liabilities for care, which is enshrined in the Care Act 2014 and was due for implementation in 2020. This policy was based on the 2011 report of the Dilnot Commission and was designed to insure people against catastrophic care costs. However, the manifesto said this would have “mostly benefitted a small number of wealthier people”.

The Dilnot policy would have required local authorities to carry out many thousand additional assessments each year, as people who currently self-fund their care would have had to have their needs assessed and reviewed each year to take advantage of the cap. On the face of it, the new policy would not require so many additional assessments, though it is likely that many people who currently self-fund their care in a care home would become entitled to local authority funding in future.

Funding

The Conservatives also promised extra funding for adult social care and health by means-testing winter fuel payments for pensioners, but it is unclear how much this would raise.

Schemes to get graduates into social work – like Frontline and Think Ahead – would continue to get funding under a Conservative government, but the party would also expand this idea to older professionals.

“We will provide seed funding for similar schemes to recruit older professionals from other sectors, including those returning to the workplace having care for children and relatives and those approaching retirement,” the manifesto pledged.

The Conservatives pledged to introduce a new Mental Health Bill to replace the 1983 Act, and a Domestic Violence and Abuse Bill, which would include a statutory definition of domestic violence and abuse and create an aggravated offence of domestic abuse if behaviour is directed at a child.

A green paper would be published on young people’s mental health before the end of this year, the manifesto said, and the party pledged to reform child and adolescent mental health services. It also said it would recruit up to 10,000 extra mental health professionals, though it did not specify in which disciplines.

It also reaffirmed support for removing child protection services from failing authorities and placing them into trusts, and said the party would review current support for children in need “to understand why their outcomes are so poor”.

It added that it would establish in law “freedom for employees to mutualise, where appropriate, within the public sector”.

 

 

7 Responses to Conservatives pledge overhaul of social care funding

  1. londonboy May 18, 2017 at 3:20 pm #

    ”the party would review current support for children in need “to understand why their outcomes are so poor”
    Was that a joke from the lady without much of a sense of humour? Can the party really be SO out of touch?

  2. Jim Greer May 19, 2017 at 10:13 am #

    I saw the policy to take value of houses into account discussed on a tv news show as a way of reducing the ‘imbalance’ in assets between baby boomers and younger people. This is ridiculous of course as older people who are currently receiving care are the parents of baby boomers. There is a real risk that many older people will fall victim to equity release scams to pay for their care. Deferred payment arrangements will place a huge administrative burden on councils and this policy will cause conflict between care providers, councils and people receiving care. There is also issue of people who want to pass their family home onto their children to actually live in. Treating a house as though it is a liquid asset while someone is living in it is a disturbing change in policy.

    • Katej May 19, 2017 at 2:50 pm #

      Hi Jim. I don’t understand your comment on equity release. If payments are deferred, why would anyone need to turn to an equity release scheme? I am not by any means in support of the proposals, but you are the second person I’ve come across to mention equity release, and I wonder whether I’ve misunderstood what ‘deferring payments’ means in practice. Thanks! Kate.

  3. maharg May 19, 2017 at 10:40 am #

    Means testing the rich for winter fuel payment is logical, but the reality is people that can’t afford probably will not get any more to meet increased costs of a charging policy and regulation that the Tories promoted in the first place.

  4. Katie Politico May 22, 2017 at 7:26 am #

    There is so much wrong with this policy one of which would see older people with care needs ending their lives in order that their children and grandchildren have somewhere to live. The next government policy will be voluntary euthanasia moving to compulsory euthanasia for all economically unproductive adults.

  5. With hope in our hearts May 22, 2017 at 10:55 am #

    Because we trust this vermin with Social Care as we do The NHS. They’ve had 7 years to begin to address this and failed significantly in only adding further to the burden inflicted on both The NHS and Social Care to enable their agenda of privatisation.

    They’ve also failed on or been forced on 50 other manifesto pledges or U-turns so they’ve got history.

    • With hope in our hearts May 22, 2017 at 3:11 pm #

      Here’s another U-turn as I speak!!!!

      Unbelievable. Strong and Stable Leadership. This ladies not for turning