Social care organisations and charities have written an open letter to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Sajid Javid, calling on the Government to remove the Cap on Care Costs for Charging Purposes clause from the Health and Care Bill.
The Bill is being debated today in the House of Commons, which will review the House of Lords message to amend the Cap. The House of Lords has now voted twice to remove this clause from the Bill, saying the changes would be ‘unfair’ and ‘regressive.’
In the open letter, Age UK, Alzheimer’s Society, Independent Age, and the King’s Fund urge the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care and Ministers to ‘think again’ and to remove the Cap on Care Costs for Charging purposes clause from the Health and Care Bill. The charities and organisations said they want the Government’s Cap to succeed but unless the Government reverses the proposed change, then they are ‘deeply concerned that it will fail to achieve its purpose' and ‘will be of little use to millions of older and disabled people who would otherwise stand to gain from the reassurance the Cap was designed to bring.’
Letter signatories said that through the Government's proposal will 'remove the protection for most people with low or modest amounts of assets while leaving support for the wealthier more or less intact.'
In September the Government announced a cap on lifetime social care costs in England, which was planned to begin in October 2023 and set at a level of £86,000. When the possibility of a cap was first legislated for in the 2014 Care Act, total care costs incurred – including those covered by council funding for those with low assets or income – were to count towards the cap. However, in November 2021, the Government proposed to amend the Care Act so that only the amount someone spends themselves would count towards the cap.
A joint Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) and Health Foundation report, funded by the Health Foundation, found that the proposed Government amendment would impact most strongly those older people with modest levels of wealth. Those with wealth, including their home, of around £75,000 to £150,000 would face the biggest loss of protection as a result of the amendment. The result is that someone with around £110,000 in assets could lose 78% of their total wealth even after the cap is in place, while someone with £500,000 could use up only 17%. The report showed that people living in less affluent areas, such as parts of the North East, Yorkshire and the Humber and the Midlands, would be most disadvantaged by the change to the cap on social care costs.
The letter has been signed by:
Caroline Abrahams, CBE, Charity Director, Age UK
James White, Head of Public Affairs and Campaigns, Alzheimer’s Society
Sally Warren, The King’s Fund
John Palmer, Director of Policy and Communications, Independent Age
Visit the Age UK website to read more about the charity's current campaign on Care in Crisis.
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