Social care cap a “bigger con than we initially thought”, shadow minister says

Elliot Chappell

Liz Kendall has warned that the social care cap announced earlier in the year by the Conservative government is a “bigger con than we initially thought” after details of the scheme were “sneaked out today under a cloud of Tory sleaze”.

The government unveiled reforms, which included a ‘social care levy‘, in September. Commenting after further details were revealed this afternoon, the shadow minister for social care declared that “our elderly people deserve better”.

Under the plans announced by ministers, it was thought that any costs incurred would count towards a new £86,000 limit on care costs, at which point the state will step in, as recommended by a report shelved a decade ago.

Legislation will now be changed, however, to mean that only costs actually paid by a person qualifies – not accounting for any means-tested help received from the state – making it likely that only richer people will reach the cap.

“We already knew most people won’t hit the cap because it doesn’t cover board and lodging in care homes, and that at £86,000 the cap would still mean many people will have to sell their homes to pay for their care – against everything Boris Johnson promised,” Kendall said.

“It has now been revealed that the poorest pensioners will have to pay even more, something Andrew Dilnot – who proposed the cap – explicitly ruled out because it was so unfair. That this Tory government has failed to be straight with those who’ve given so much to our country is a total disgrace, but utterly unsurprising.”

Director of the Resolution Foundation Torsten Bell said the move undoes the purpose of the cap, “ensuring those with fewer financial resources make a smaller contribution towards their care costs than those with more”.

He added: “Where would this change leave us? With the cap’s benefit for those with under £100k of assets much reduced – this techy sounding shift could double your care costs if you’ve got around £90k but makes no difference to someone with £500k who gets almost all their assets protected.”

The government revealed this afternoon that it will amend the Care Act 2014 to make the change to the way that people within the means test progress towards the cap. MPs are expected to vote on the change next week.

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