The Prime Minister today confirmed that a greater proportion of elderly people will have to fund their own care fees.
At the launch of the Conservative Party manifesto, Theresa May argued that drastic changes are needed to tackle the mounting crisis in social care funding.
In the flagship announcement of the Tories’ policy document, plans were outlined which will mean that those who require domiciliary care would see the value of their home included in the means testing. At present only an individual’s savings and income are taken into consideration in these particular circumstances.
Mrs May said that it was her responsibility “to be straight with people about the challenges ahead.”
Aware that the changes will cause controversy in some quarters, Mrs May has tried to soften the blow by announcing that the total assets someone can have before they have to cover their own care costs will rise from £23,250 to £100,000.
She will also offer assurances that people will have the option to defer payment until after their death, as per the current arrangements available to those who need to fund residential care.
Early analysis suggests that the impact of changes is likely to vary greatly depending on a person’s circumstances; there will undoubtedly some who benefit, while others will lose out under the new system.
The BBC’s health correspondent Nick Triggle said: “In the end it can be summed up quite easily - they want people to pay more towards the cost of their care, but are prepared to wait until you die before taking it from your estate.”
Sir Andrew Dilnot, an economist who was previously commissioned to look at the social care system during the Coalition government, gave an interview to Radio 4’s Today programme which was described as “politely furious” by the broadcaster’s political editor Laura Kuenssberg.
“The disappointment about these proposals is that they fail to tackle the biggest problem of all in social care: there is nothing that you can do to protect yourself against care costs,” he said.
“People will be left helpless, knowing that what will happen if they are unlucky enough to suffer the need for care costs, is that they will be entirely on their own until they are down to their last £100,000 of all of their wealth, including their house.”