The government was last night dealt Lords defeat to the care cap, as Peers voted 198-158 to remove a last minute alteration to care home funding, which critics say will mean poorer people pay more. Under the governments care funding plan, people will not have to pay more than £86,000 over their lifetimes for care fees from October 2023.
However, in a late change, ministers said anything councils pay towards people’s care will not count towards the cap.
A joint Institute for Fiscal Studies and Health Foundation report revealed older people with modest levels of wealth will be hit hardest, facing “catastrophic costs”.
Those with assets including their home of £75,000 to £150,000 face the biggest loss of protection, and someone with around £110,000 in assets could lose 78% of their total wealth even after the cap is in place, while someone with £500,000 could use up only 17%, according to the study.
Commenting on the vote, Sally Warren, Director of Policy at The King’s Fund, said: ‘I welcome the House of Lords decision to reject the government’s planned change to the cap on social care costs. The change would leave many poorer people still exposed to the risk of having to sell their home to fund their care, whilst wealthier people would enjoy protection from the very high costs that can come with needing social care for long periods of time.
‘Recent analysis from the Institute for Fiscal Studies and The Health Foundation shows that people in less affluent areas, such as parts of the North East, Yorkshire and the Humber and the Midlands, would be most disadvantaged by the change to the cap on social care costs.
‘Ministers may now ask MPs to vote again on the change in a bid to overrule the House of Lords. Reinstating this regressive change would run counter to the government’s ambition to ‘level up’, as well as the promise that no-one would have to sell their home to pay for their care. I encourage members of parliament to consider whether they want to back a policy that will save the Treasury money, but at the direct expense of poorer people living in the North and Midlands who need social care.’
Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director at Age UK said: “At Age UK we are really pleased, and also relieved, that the House of Lords has rejected the Government’s attempt to undermine its own care cap policy tonight. I would like to thank every Peer who voted against the Government’s amendment (clause 155). If it had passed, it would have taken the cap beyond the grasp of older people with few or modest assets, poorer places and disabled people of working age. This would have been an extraordinarily unfair and regressive outcome and the House of Lords quite rightly said ‘no’. Now it’s up to the Government to decide what to do. We sincerely hope they choose not to try to reinstate this ill-conceived amendment in the House of Commons.”