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.