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20.07.15

Delay to elderly care costs cap 'understandable and inevitable' – ADASS

The Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) says the government’s decision to delay the cap on care costs at £72,000 until 2020 is “understandable and inevitable”. 

In a letter to the Local Government Association, Alistair Burt MP, the minister of state for community and social care, said the proposals to cap care costs and create a supporting private insurance market were expected to add £6bn to public sector spending over the next five years. 

However, he added that “a time of consolidation is not the right moment to be implementing expensive new commitments such as this, especially when there are no indications the private insurance market will develop as expected”. 

Harold Bodmer, vice-president of ADASS, said that the Care Act was “rightly welcomed” across the adult social care sector. But the pressures of “rising demand, punitively reduced budgets and the impending obligation to pay an enhanced National Living Wage” have all put an intolerable strain on social care finance. 

“Frankly, if directors were asked to choose between implementing the funding reforms right now or having the money directly to fund these growing demands they would almost without exception prioritise a fair and sustainable funding settlement to meet the true cost of providing safe, good quality care,” said Bodmer. 

Bodmer, who is also director of community services at Norfolk County Council, added that the important issue now must be to ensure that current services can benefit from the extra funding this decision makes available. 

“This ought to be the beginning of a thoroughgoing, transparent process, through the coming spending review, of putting fair, equitable and fully-funded social care services back on track after what have been five devastating years,” he said. 

The decision to delay the care cap, which was supposed to be implemented in April 2016, has caused uproar in parts of the sector.   

For instance, Anchor, the not-for-profit care and housing provider, said the decision was “outrageous” and brings into question the future of care funding.  

Jane Ashcroft CBE, CEO of Anchor, explained that adequate funding is an absolute priority, as is system reform. 

“Ignoring the need for reform will only aggravate the concerns of older people about how well their needs are being represented in Parliament,” she said. “The changes to care funding are vital for people of all ages. Our survey found 50% of over 55s said they were worried about being able to afford adequate care in their old age, yet more than a third (36%) had not even heard about the proposed changes. 

“We desperately hope this lengthy delay in policy is because the government is planning to urgently address how care is funded – a major issue for today’s older people as well as future generations.” 

The June/July 2015 edition of PSE is now available for FREE using the new PSE App, available on iOS and Android. Search ‘Public Sector’ in the App Store / Google Play. 

Comments

Cas   07/12/2015 at 16:33

My 94 year old mother, after a fall in her sheltered housing, had to have a leg amputated, since when she has lived in a residential care home. This has been paid for by the proceeds of selling her 3 bedroom house in Brighton, Granny bonds, and an inheritance from her sister. Total in excess of £300k. She now has only £6k left, hardly enough for funeral costs. Although overpaying by £20k my sister has been unable to get a refund of the overpayment. Capping costs at £72k is definitely never going to happen the care homes are too stretched already, and our experience is probably duplicated across the country.

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