Social care reform: £75,000 cap is still too high, say critics
Health Secretary set to announce cap on care costs but some say plans are 'as credible as Findus lasagne'
THE GOVERNMENT is due to announce reforms to the cost of long-term social care for those suffering from Alzheimer's and other diseases that prevent them caring for themselves. Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt says he believes the changes will stop the "scandal" of 40,000 pensioners a year being forced to sell their homes to pay for their care. But some campaigners say he has not gone far enough...
Higher savings limit. Currently, anyone with more than £23,250 in the bank is expected to meet the cost of their own care in old age. Hunt plans to raise that to £123,000.
£75,000 cost cap. No one - whatever their personal wealth – will have to pay more than £75,000 towards the cost of their social care. However, that does not cover the cost of accommodation and food for people in nursing homes - they will be expected to pay up to £12,000 per year extra.
Why the change? According to the Alzheimer's Society, there will be a million people in Britain with dementia by 2021 – a situation described as a long-term care "timebomb" by The Times. Jeremy Hunt told the BBC that the introduction of the £75,000 upper limit will help insurance companies and pensions offer schemes to cover the cap so the UK can move to "a system where people don't have to sell their own house" to pay for social care.
Does it go far enough? In 2011 the Dilnot review, which was set up by the coalition to look into the issue, recommended a £35,000 cap on social care costs and campaigners have expressed regret the government's cap is more than double that. Labour's Liz Kendall said it was a "small step" forward but would not help people with modest incomes. Think tank Demos, meanwhile, said the £75,000 cap was "miserly" and Dot Gibson of the National Pensioners Convention said the plans were "as credible as a Findus lasagne" and would help "just 10 per cent of those needing care", the Daily Telegraph reports.