Amendment means £86,000 social care cap won't help four in five

Social care betrayal: ‘Penny-pinching’ amendment to reforms means £86,000 cap on costs won’t help four in five elderly people, campaigners warn

  • Campaigners warned many elderly Britons will keep paying for own support
  • Boris Johnson pledged no one would have to pay more than £86,000 
  • The historic reforms were designed to end the broken system 
  • Four in five pensioners will not benefit from the new social care cap because of the loss of nearly £1billion in promised annual funding, campaigners warned last night.

    They say many elderly Britons, especially those in poorer areas, will instead keep paying for their own support until they die and have to sell the family home.

    Boris Johnson pledged last September that no one would have to pay more than £86,000 over the course of their lifetime from October next year. 

    The historic reforms, which followed a major Daily Mail campaign, were designed to end the broken system that exposes pensioners to crippling care costs.

    But the Government has announced a ‘penny pinching’ amendment that saves £900million a year. 

    Four in five pensioners will not benefit from the new social care cap because of the loss of nearly £1billion in promised annual funding, campaigners warned last night

    Four in five pensioners will not benefit from the new social care cap because of the loss of nearly £1billion in promised annual funding, campaigners warned last night 

    Analysis shows it means families will face ‘horrific bills for years longer than they expect’ – with four in five elderly Britons never gaining from the £86,000 cap.

    Under the original reforms, the £86,000 limit would have included support provided by councils for those with assets between £20,000 and £100,000 a year. 

    But the amendment means money will count toward the cap only if it comes from personal assets. 

    A report from Age UK shows this will ‘disproportionately penalise’ older Britons who are less well off or live in areas with low house prices, forcing many to keep paying for their own care costs until they die.

    Wealthy pensioners will reach the £86,000 cap much more quickly than those with assets below £100,000. 

    If an individual had £95,000 in assets and, because of means-tested support, contributed only £5,000 a year towards care, it could take more than a decade to reach the cap and they would face losing most of their assets.

    Analysis by the Institute for Fiscal Studies warned the technical change means someone with £110,000 in assets could lose up to 78 per cent of their wealth, compared with just 17 per cent for someone with £500,000.

    The amendment was passed by the House of Commons in November but charities are urging the House of Lords to reject it.

    Boris Johnson pledged last September that no one would have to pay more than £86,000 over the course of their lifetime from October next year

    Boris Johnson pledged last September that no one would have to pay more than £86,000 over the course of their lifetime from October next year

    Caroline Abrahams of Age UK said: ‘This penny-pinching measure is likely to result in far fewer older people reaching the cap than was originally anticipated. This is patently unfair, regressive and counter to the ‘levelling-up agenda’.

    ‘I am struggling to remember the last time a government of any complexion trumpeted a social and economic reform, and then ripped the heart out of it, of its own accord, less than two months later.

    ‘The only possible reason for doing so is cost-cutting, but to expect those with the fewest assets to pay the price, while favouring the better-off, is completely the wrong choice, in our view. 

    ‘It’s no way to treat older people and their families, who have waited so long for reassurance that they will not be impoverished by endlessly spiralling care bills.’

    Helen Morrissey, senior pensions and retirement analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: ‘The Government’s quiet tweak to the social care cap will leave families facing horrific bills for years longer than they expect.’

    The move will add to fears that social care is again being betrayed, with most of the annual £12billlion raised from the new health and social care levy going to the NHS.

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