Conservatives make U-turn over cap on social care costs

Theresa May announced today the party's plans for adult social care funding would consult on including a cap on social care costs if it was re-elected

Conservative leader Theresa May Photo: Harry Whitehead/REX/Shuttershock

by Andy McNicoll & Luke Stevenson

Theresa May has said proposed changes to social care funding will now include an “absolute limit” on the amount people pay towards care costs.

The move marks a U-turn by the Conservatives, with the party having appeared to rule out the introduction of a cap on care costs just last week.

The party’s manifesto instead pledged to introduce an asset threshold that would mean people only paid for social care costs until their assets were worth £100,000 or less.

The document set no limit on how much people would pay for their care if their assets exceeded the threshold. It also explicitly criticised the Dilnot commission’s proposals, which included a costs cap, saying that they “benefited a small number of wealthier people”.

Since announced, the Conservatives’ social care proposals have drawn fierce criticism from other political parties, with critics labelling the asset threshold a “dementia tax”.

Today, May said the Conservatives would include a proposal for a care costs limit in a consultation if the party is re-elected.

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.”

She added: “There will be 2 million more people over 75 years old in Britain over the next decade alone. Our social care system will collapse unless we make some important decisions now about how we fund it.”

‘Chaos’

Labour said May had thrown the Tories’ election campaign “into chaos and confusion”.

Andrew Gwynne, Labour’s election co-ordinator, said: “She is unable to stick to her own manifesto for more than four days. And by failing to put a figure for a cap on social care costs, she has only added to the uncertainty for millions of older people and their families.”

Under the care funding plans included in the Conservative manifesto, 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.

More from Community Care

6 Responses to Conservatives make U-turn over cap on social care costs

  1. HelenSparkles May 22, 2017 at 2:11 pm #

    I think this might have lost them the election, their core voters are the targets.

    • Steve May 22, 2017 at 7:10 pm #

      Let’s hope so! Save our social care and NHS.

  2. A Man Called Horse May 23, 2017 at 10:37 am #

    Sadly I think the Tories will still win because the working class are frankly uneducated and their opinions are easily manipulated by the Tory press.

    It beggars belief that any older person would vote for this Tory asset stripping rubbish. On the other hand if all the students vote Labour and they win Tuition fees will be abolished an absolute winner of a policy.

    Again unfortunately a lot of well off but thick middle class students will vote Tory. Turkeys voting for Christmas as usual.

  3. KevB May 26, 2017 at 10:25 am #

    My father has been in a nursing care home for nearly two years and he is self funding. He has paid £92k already. Presently, with mum still in their house, they cannot force her out. However, presently those funds will still be used if Mum were to pass or she goes in a home or voluntarily sells up. The £100,000 is much better than the present £23,250 limit, however who pays the funds whilst the care home waits for the death of the resident?. Would like more clarity on the cap, but I understand there would have to be more consultation. After all, if all the self funders paid nothing and the state paid in instead, with up to half a million in this situation, the bill would be in excess of £50bn over just two years. That would cause a massive debt. I am not against Dad paying(and I would benefit from inheritance). What I don’t like is the fact that care homes charge more than than they charge local authorities/councils. This can up to double the fees for the same service. Surely that is wrong!. I estimate my fathers care home makes a £10k profit every week, it is scandalous they are allowed to get away with. Of course they cannot survive of local authority clients alone, that would result in a loss, but when they target self funders it is most unfair. The government cannot prevent this other than by introducing a cap, but that would not be back dated I bet.
    What they could do is make the Continuing Health Care assessment look at how a persons health would suffer if they were at home, to being in a nursing care home. Presently the majority of CHC payments are the minimum of £156 per week. Lawyers speak in the CHC guidance has given them the power to payout only the minimum in most cases when patients with stroke damage or dementia leave hospital.
    I know people are saying the Tories are in a mess on this, however, Labour has copped out by just saying, oh, we will boost funds by several billion, with no policy on where it goes and how it gets spent. If they just hand over money like they did last time they were in government, it will go straight down a black hole, with no debate on how it will be targeted. Their big investment many years ago caused the problem we have now, a bloated NHS, with too many management levels in their structure. At least the Tories are giving more specific policies.
    However, I have say that No political party has Social Care right, but at least one them is making an effort, instead of waving cash and saying sort it yourselves.

  4. claire butler May 27, 2017 at 10:47 am #

    I have already sent my postal vote in mostly based on loosing all my assests down to £100.000
    However this is not a U turn, just a three point turn which is not complete without knowing just how much the governemnt under MAY will elect to rob from me. Tory all my life now in my late 70s however i have voted Labour because of this issue. Plus the winter fuel allowance, plus hunting with dogs, and her general attitude. Is Corbin any better – probably not.

  5. Mike Dennis June 4, 2017 at 12:34 pm #

    What happens if we have taken out an equity release on the property ?
    Notably – No Politician of any party has had the guts to challenge the Government on that and demand clarity on that matter.