Plans for cap on social care costs in 2020 pulled by government

Consultation on social care reform will include proposals for a limit on individual spend on care, but £72,000 cap will not be introduced in three years

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Photo: tang90246/Fotolia

The government has announced that it is scrapping plans to place a cap on social care costs in 2020.

In a statement on adult social care yesterday care minister Jackie Doyle-Price confirmed that the £72,000 limit on costs for care to be paid by individuals aged over 65 would not be introduced.

The cap, based on proposals made by the Dilnot commission in 2011, was built into law by the Care Act 2014.

It would have required social workers to carry out many thousands more assessments and reviews each year of the needs of self-funders to firstly determine whether they had eligible needs for care and then track the cost of meeting their needs until the cap was reached.

The statement reiterated the government’s announcement last month for a green paper on social care to be published by summer 2018, setting out the government’s proposals for social care reform. The paper will be subject to a full public consultation upon its publication.

Doyle-Price said: “To allow for 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.”

“Further details on the plans will be set out once the government has consulted on the options.”

Limit on care costs

However, the minister also stated that prime minister Theresa May was “clear” that the consultation will include proposals for a limit in social care costs faced by individuals. This is in line with the final position the Conservatives took in the 2017 general election campaign following a rapid U-turn on their heavily-criticised manifesto plans for social care.

Proposals in the manifesto would have required individuals to pay the total cost of their care until the value of their assets, including property, fell to £100,000, a more generous arrangement than is currently the case for care home residents but a much less generous one for users of home care. The manifesto made no mention of a cap on the total cost – but after the proposals were fiercely criticised as a “dementia tax” the party said they would also cap costs.

Shadow health secretary Barbara Keeley criticised the government’s move to pull plans for introducing the cap in three years, saying it was “a shameful waste of taxpayers money” as the Dilnot commission had cost the public purse more than £1m.

The green paper on social care will focus primarily on reform of care for older people, but Doyle-Price said it would “consider elements of the adult care system that are common to all recipients of social care”. A parallel programme of work will consider the needs of working-age disabled adults, which Doyle-Price said would be closely aligned with the green paper.

Doyle-Price also said that the needs of carers would be an integral part of the green paper and that issues raised in last year’s call for evidence on a proposed carers’ strategy in 2016 would feed into the green paper work. There would also be an action plan for carers published in the New Year.

Andrew Dilnot, who chaired the commission that came up with the proposed cap, and fellow economist Kate Barker, who chaired the Commission on the Future of Health and Social Care in England in 2014, were cited by Doyle-Price as two of a “range of independent experts” who have been asked to provide advice in advance of the paper.

6 Responses to Plans for cap on social care costs in 2020 pulled by government

  1. A Man Called Horse December 8, 2017 at 12:10 pm #

    Why am I not surprised by this? Well like I have said in a previous post the Government would rather fund another pointless green paper on kicking tin cans into the long grass. A little bit like reforms to banks and banker bonuses remember that? Well nothing happened to Bankers and they are back to big bonus culture and telling us how important they are to the UK.

    We have been sucker punched so many times by the Tories if this was a boxing match it would have been stopped. Why does anyone believe anything they say? Why do people keep voting for them? Many questions no answers.

    • Sarah.L December 17, 2017 at 2:00 pm #

      The thing is, I don’t believe what Tories say. Why would I? I’m not gullible. I know better than to believe what garbage spills out of their mouths.

  2. Anne Dixon December 8, 2017 at 5:12 pm #

    The whole elderly care system is a shambles and the CHC process in particular stinks! At every step there are delays and lies. Many are deterred as they trust the ‘professionals’ and believe them when they say their loved one is ineligible for funding. Now we find hat councils put a cap on how much they will pay so self finders not only pay for themselves but subsidise those who have no money. A total disgrace!

  3. Helen Wilcox December 13, 2017 at 1:12 pm #

    This borders on ‘criminal negligence’ by government and reflects equally badly on those MPs, Lords and Ladies who stridently oppose cross party collaboration to provide a plan for social care funding. It is a disgrace.

  4. Sarah.L December 15, 2017 at 12:45 pm #

    Brexit isn’t half as important as social care. Yet Brexit is all I hear about, when I put the news on. I’d say that looking after our own first, should be a priority. Never mind that Theresa May. We don’t care for her future plans. You know when your government has gone down the pan, when they put other countries first, over vulnerable people’s social care needs. I think I’ll move to Sweden. Maybe the care sector will actually be better there.

  5. Ann Hutchinson December 21, 2017 at 2:51 pm #

    This government is an absolute disgrace, I cannot communicate my thoughts on the discriminatory and heartless way it treats the elderly. Care, compassion, respect and dignity absolutely lost in their pursuit of cuts. However, they ensure the class system prevails, so too the north south divide. England? Shameful.