Rishi Sunak Expected to Delay Social Care Costs Cap’ in Autumn Statement

The government will delay the introduction of the cap on care costs for two years, in chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s autumn statement next week, according to reports.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is understood to have suggested an ‘indefinite’ delay to a cap on personal care costs promised by previous Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government, but ‘accepted a postponement of two years’ after being warned cancelling it would be damaging politically.

The £86,000 lifetime costs ceiling was due to be introduced next October, but a proposed delay means the ceiling on costs would not feature on spending plans in next week Autumn statement, increasing concerns that the stage is being set for it to be abandoned altogether.

Delaying the cap would save the government an estimated £3billion a year, however it would also put the PM on a collision course with administration under Boris Johnson who championed it as one of his main achievements.

Speaking outside No10 on July 24, 2019, the day he became PM, Mr Johnson insisted: “We will fix the crisis in social care once and for all with a clear plan we have prepared to give every older person the dignity and security they deserve.”

As Chancellor, Mr Sunak imposed a 1.25% national insurance hike to help the NHS tackle backlogs, and once this backlog cleared the money would be injected into social care.

The measure would limit the amount anyone will have to pay for care in later life to £86,000 – reducing the pressure on people to sell homes that could have otherwise been inherited by family.

However, it does not cover many costs so the true sum can be far higher.

The news has angered charities and older people’s groups, Age UK charity director Caroline Abrahams said: “If the Chancellor does announce next week that he is kicking it into the long grass, probably to disappear altogether, it will mean we have endured a lost decade or more where social care is concerned.

“Millions of older and disabled people have had to put up with inadequate services over that period and committed care staff have soldiered on despite miserly terms and conditions.

“Whether the proposed cap is delayed or abandoned or is implemented as currently planned, it is no substitute for a proper process of reform that ensures everyone who has care needs receives a decent service, tailored to their individual needs.”

Ms Abrahams said: “If the Chancellor does announce next week that he is kicking it into the long grass, probably to disappear altogether, it will mean we have endured a lost decade or more where social care is concerned.

“Millions of older and disabled people have had to put up with inadequate services over that period, and committed care staff have soldiered on despite miserly terms and conditions.

“With perhaps two years until the next general election there’s a responsibility on all political parties to make up for lost time and get serious about improving social care.

“It is likely to require a decade long plan, but the sooner we start the sooner we’ll get there – and please, no more airy political promises that have no chance of being kept.”

The Alzheimer’s Society insisted the Government “must not roll back on the care cap”.

Associate director of advocacy Mark MacDonald said: “This social care reform was a crucial first step to tackle catastrophic care costs, limiting the amount people had to pay towards their care.

“People with dementia are the biggest users of social care – at least 70% of care home users have dementia – and this delay would be a damaging blow at a time when many of them will be struggling with bills and need action on the cost of care too.”

Silver Voices director Dennis Reed said: “There is a grim inevitability about the likely delay in implementing the social care cap; the history of the last decade has been one of proposed legislation being suspended and then scrapped, leaving the social care crisis to get worse.

 

CHSA

 

 

Wippet

 

 

CareHQ

 

 

AccessGroup

 

 

QCS

 

 

Lakelands2022

 

Sign up for all the latest news from The Carer!

Sign up to receive the latest issues, along with highlights of the latest sector news and more from The Carer, delivered directly to your inbox twice a week!