Hospital Dr News

Tories unveil manifesto pledges on social care including £100k “capital floor”

The Tory Party has launched its manifesto a head of the General Election with its proposals for social care grabbing the headlines.

The proposals involve including the cost of people’s homes when means-testing to decide whether they must pay for domiciliary care – as currently happens for residential social care – to raise additional income.

The Tories would also introduce a single capital floor, set at £100,000, below which their assets will be protected from social care costs – up from the current floor of £23,250.

Deferred payment agreements – under which people pay what they owe when they sell assets or when the die – would be extended to domiciliary care.

The Conservatives said this means “no one…has to sell their home within their lifetime, or the lifetime of their surviving partner if they live together”.

They will also means test winter fuel payments “and transfer the money raised directly to health and social care”.

Furthermore, the Tories said there would be “far-reaching system improvement to improve co-operation between the NHS and the care system, relieve unnecessary and sometimes unhealthy stays in hospital and examine how to make best use of specialist housing and new technology”.

No detail has been given on what this means as yet.

And a new Tory government would “take immediate action to deal with the pressures in the social care system”.

The plan abandons the recommendation of the 2011 Dilnot commission, previously supported by the Conservatives but not yet introduced, of capping the total of what any individual must pay for their long-term social care. This was suggested to be £35,000.

Commenting on the proposals, Sir Andrew Dilnot said they failed to tackle the central problem that people can’t pool their risks.

He said: “It’s a bit like saying you can’t insure your house against burning down. If it does burn down then you are completely on your own, you have to pay for all of it until you are down to the last £100,000 of all of your assets and income, so it is just not answering the problem.”

On abandoning the previous pledge to cap care costs, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said: “We’re dropping it because we don’t think it is fair because you could have a situation where someone who owns a house worth £1m or £2m, and has expensive care costs of perhaps £100,000 or £200,000, ends up not having to pay those care costs because they are capped. And those costs get borne by taxpayers and we don’t think that’s fair on different generations.

“Everyone will be confident that they can pass on £100,000 to their children and grandchildren. The way we are going to pay for that is by making the rules the same for people who go into care homes as for people who get care at their home, and by means-testing the winter fuel payment, which currently isn’t.”

Lib Dem pledges on social care: 

£2bn a year extra ring-fenced for social care

Finish the job of implementing a cap on the cost of social care already legislated for.

Introduce a statutory independent budget monitoring agency for health and care, similar to the Office for Budget Responsibility. This would report every three years on how much money the system needs to deliver safe and sustainable treatment and care.

Raise the amount people can earn before losing Carer’s Allowance from £110 to £150 a week, and reduce the number of hours’ care per week required to qualify.

Labour’s pledges on social care: 

£8bn extra for social care over the lifetime of the next Parliament, including an additional £1 billion for the first year

A maximum limit on lifetime personal contributions to care costs, raising the asset threshold below which people are entitled to state support, and providing free end of life care.

£3bn a year, funding route to be consulted on but options include wealth taxes, an employer care contribution or a new social care levy.

An increase in the Carer’s Allowance for unpaid full-time carers to align the benefit with rates of the Jobseeker’s Allowance.

Create a National Care Service for England.

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