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24.05.17

Think tanks welcome Tory cap on social care, but questions remain

Theresa May’s announcement that a potential cap on social care costs would be consulted on as part of a green paper has been welcomed by two leading think tanks.

At the announcement of the Conservative manifesto last week, it was revealed that those with assets worth more than £100,000 would have to pay for their own care.

But a few days ago, May confirmed that there would be a cap on how much people paid for care – something which both Labour and the Lib Dems argued represented a policy U-turn.

Today, the Nuffield Trust and the King’s Fund have come out in support of May’s decision to introduce a cap, although they raised the question that clarification would be needed on where the cap is going to be set.

“It is good that these proposals now include a lifetime cap,” said chief executive of the Nuffield Trust, Nigel Edwards. “This goes some way to addressing one of the big problems with the social care system, which is that the neediest can pay a very disproportionate amount for their care.

“The crucial remaining questions are at what level the cap is set, and whether it will be backed by the additional funding needed to make it work.”

And Chris Ham, CEO of The King’s Fund, argued: “We welcome the prime minister’s announcement that the green paper later this year will include a proposal for a cap on social care costs as a way of limiting the catastrophic costs people risk incurring.”

He also stated that the government’s green paper should be used as an opportunity to achieve greater intergenerational equity in terms of paying for social care costs.  

“As the Barker Commission argued in its 2014 report on a new health and care settlement, current and future generations of pensioners should be contributing more to the cost of a new settlement through tax and national insurance,” said Ham.

On top of that, the King’s Fund CEO emphasised that a single health and care system, paid for through a mix of public and private funding, was essential to tackle the unfairness of existing arrangements and to overcome the “lottery of care being based on diagnosis rather than need”.

“Raising some of the revenues required by tapping into wealth in people’s property should be part of a new approach to funding,” he concluded. “A coherent and considered review of all the options is needed instead of future policy being determined by election deadlines.”

Top Image: Danny Lawson PA Wire

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