Government Postpones Cap on Care Costs
The latest Care Act Newsletter from West Sussex County Council came out recently, and in it there was some important news surrounding the proposed cap on care costs that the government pledged to bring in before the election.
The cap was set to come into effect in 2016, but it has now been postponed until April 2020. So why has this happened?
Care Funding Reforms Delayed
The reforms to the way that care is funded were an important part of the government’s plans before the election. The plans include a £72,000 cap on the cost that people pay for care. This means that this will be the maximum lifetime care costs that a person will have to pay themselves, and after this the state will provide funding.
This was previously planned to come into effect in 2016, and the aim was to prevent people from having to pay astronomical fees for their care.
However, the new Care and Support Minister, Alistair Burt, who was appointed to the role following the General Election, recently announced that the delay had to be brought in. The decision was apparently made after the Local Government Association and others had expressed concerns regarding the timetable for bringing the cap in. The LGA claims that there is a growing funding gap for social care of £700 million a year.
The government also claimed that the changes, which make up the second part of the Care Act reforms, would add £6 billion to spending over the next five years. It wants to ensure that everyone is ready for the new system without rushing it into place, and it wants to look into more ways to support people with their care costs.
However, the government has claimed that it is still committed to bringing in the cap.
The shadow care minister, Liz Kendall, was quoted in the Financial Times as saying that the decision by the government was “shameful”, claiming that it is bad news for elderly people and their families who are currently planning for their future.
The same article claims that there were hopes that the insurance industry would provide products to cover the initial £72,000 costs, but that these products have not yet materialised.
Even when the cap does come in, it will still be higher than the £35,000 that was recommended by the Dilnot Commission. It will also not cover living expenses or accommodation.
Find Out More About Your Care Options
The decision to delay the cap on funding may well affect you if you or an elderly relative is currently receiving care. If you would like to talk about your care options, we are always happy to speak to you and answer any questions you may have, so feel free to get in touch any time.