Care cost cap ‘may be set too high to help’

The Sunday Telegraph - - News - By Laura Don­nelly

MIN­IS­TERS have been urged not to set a cap on care costs which is so high that it fails to help al­most all of those in need.

Theresa May is ex­pected to pub­lish a green pa­per on so­cial care be­fore Christ­mas, which will set out op­tions about how to fund care of the el­derly.

The is­sue nearly cost the Con­ser­va­tives the last elec­tion, when their pro­pos­als were branded a “de­men­tia tax”.

Un­der those plans, pen­sion­ers’ as­sets – down to the last £100,000 – would be used to fund care whether or not they were still liv­ing in their homes.

Amid a grow­ing back­lash, Mrs May last year said the deal would in­clude a cap on costs, with no one hav­ing to pay more than £72,000. How­ever, the plan was shelved, amid prom­ises to pub­lish a green pa­per – which has been re­peat­edly de­layed – to ex­plore the op­tions.

Yes­ter­day char­i­ties for the el­derly raised fears that fu­ture pro­pos­als could be even worse than those which were aban­doned – and could help as few as one in 20 of those in need of care.

Cal­cu­la­tions for the Alzheimer’s So- ci­ety sug­gest that cap­ping total costs at £72,000 would only af­fect seven per cent of those who re­ceive care.

And a higher thresh­old of £80,000 would mean just five per cent of pen­sion­ers re­ceiv­ing care would get help, while just two per cent would get help if it rose as high as £100,000, the es­ti­mates by an­a­lysts LaingBuis­son show.

The av­er­age res­i­dent of a care home spends two and a half years there, with an­nual costs of £30,000 to £40,000.

Matt Han­cock, the Health Sec­re­tary, has in­di­cated his in­ter­est in new mod­els of fund­ing – in­clud­ing ei­ther a vol­un­tary or com­pul­sory sys­tem of in­sur­ance for those of work­ing age.

Such a sys­tem could cover all care costs, but would be more likely to cap them at a cer­tain level. The green pa­per – likely to be pub­lished the week be­fore Christ­mas – is likely to pro­pose a cap, but de­fer set­ting a spe­cific level.

The Alzheimer’s So­ci­ety said any ceil­ing on costs needed to be lower than £72,000 if it was to make a real dif­fer­ence. Jeremy Hughes, the char­ity’s chief, said: “If they sug­gest a cap on care costs higher than the £72k pro­posal, it will leave peo­ple with de­men­tia hung out to dry.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.