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Government to scrap planned £72,000 care cap

The government has decided to scrap its £72,000 planned care cap, health minister Jackie Doyle-Price has announced.

The care cap, which was going to be implemented from 2020, would have seen a limit on the amount that people in England would have to pay towards their social care costs. 

Doyle-Price confirmed plans for a new consultation on social care reform, saying that there would be “initial engagement over the coming months” which will shape the long-term reform of the sector, with plans being set out in a green paper that has already been pushed back until next summer.

Speaking in Parliament, she explained: “Once the Green Paper is published, it will be subject to a full public consultation. The government recognise that there is broad agreement across Parliament that reform of social care is a priority, and we look forward to working with parliamentarians to hear a range of views.

“The prime minister has been clear that the consultation will include proposals to place a limit on the care costs that individuals face. To allow for fuller engagement and the development of the approach, and so that reforms to the care system and how it is paid for are considered in the round, we will not take forward the previous government’s plans to implement a cap on care costs in 2020.

“Further details of the government’s plans will be set out after we have consulted on the options. The green paper will focus primarily on reform of care for older people, but will consider elements of the adult care system that are common to all recipients of social care.”

Cllr Izzi Seccombe, chair of the LGA’s community and wellbeing board, has said that the urgent priority must be to adequately fund the system now, before any wider reforms.

She explained that the LGA continues to support the introduction of a cap on care costs, and argued that it is important to consider how “potentially catastrophic care costs” can be limited as a part of the green paper.

Seccombe added that it is vital to include councils at the heart of all discussions, and that they are given a key role in defining and shaping social care’s future.

“Fundamental changes to the way we fund adult social care are needed if we are to deliver a long-term sustainable system that works for everyone in society and meets their needs with safe and high-quality services,” the chair explained.

“That is why cross-party consensus on a way forward is so important,” she continued, adding that “difficult, brave and possibly even controversial decision-making” will be necessary if the future of care is to be secured for older people and those with learning difficulties.

With adult social care facing an estimated funding gap of £2.3bn by 2020, Seccombe called it “deeply disappointing” that the chancellor found money for the NHS in the Autumn Budget, but nothing for adult social care.

“The government needs to put this right and inject genuinely new money into social care without delay in this month’s Local Government Finance Settlement,” she concluded.

Top image: Matthias Zomer

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Pete Ager   11/12/2017 at 15:42

In 2015, concerned neighbours called the police because they hadn't seen my aged uncle for some days. After breaking into my uncle's bungalow, paramedics were called and he was taken to hospital and diagnosed with dementia. He may have suffered a stroke or series of strokes. After six weeks in hospital, I managed to find a place for him in a care home in Milton Keynes close to where I live. Then, five months later, after jumping through numerous (expensive) hoops with the Court of Protection, I managed to gain authority to act on behalf of my uncle. Now, 27 months on, his bungalow is sold and his weekly care home costs are £1100 plus chiropody, hair cuts etc. I estimate that, in a couple of years time, my uncle's money will have reached the £23,500 (approx) lower limit after which he will not be required to pay this huge weekly amount. My fear is that I will then be asked to find alternative accommodation for my uncle after having spent at least £230,000. I'm pleased that his mental condition is such that this is something he doesn't have to worry about.

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