The government has announced a proposed amendment to its planned social care reforms that will no longer protect those with lower assets from catastrophic care costs in old age.
The Health Foundation says the change would mean that those with wealth of less than £106,000 would be exposed to maximum care costs of almost twice the amount as under the Care Act. The Dilnot Commission considered this approach in 2011 and rejected it as unfair.
Charles Tallack, Assistant Director of the REAL Centre at the Health Foundation, said: "While we support the government’s ambitions to reform social care and protect people from catastrophic care costs, these last-minute changes seem poorly conceived and are a step in the wrong direction.
"The changes seem motivated by a desire to save money - but to do so by taking protection away from poorer homeowners. The reforms were driven by a promise to protect people from catastrophic costs. It appears that for the poorest people this now won’t be the case."
On 7 September 2021, the government set out its new plan for adult social care reform in England.
It said from October 2023 it would introduce a new £86,000 cap on the amount anyone in England will need to spend on their personal care over their lifetime.
Prime Minister Boris Johnston said: “The state should target its help at protecting people against the catastrophic fear of losing everything to pay for the cost of their care, and that is what this government will do.”
The cap was expected to amount to a combination of all care costs including means-tested council funding, but it is now proposed that support payments from local councils will not count towards this personal limit.