MPs in Yorkshire, the Midlands and North East should vote down the Government’s social care cap amendment to save their poorer constituents from ‘crippling care costs’, two leading health charities today warned.
Last year, the Government proposed a cap of £86,000 on the lifetime care costs that people face. But it also proposed amending the 2014 Care Act so that local authority support that people receive to help them meet their care costs would no longer count towards the cap.
The Health Foundation and the King’s Fund have warned that this amendment significantly reduces the benefits of the reforms for people with lower levels of wealth.
In particular, they argue that people in Yorkshire, the Midlands and the North East of England would see the biggest erosion of their protection against high care costs, as a result of the amendment.
Citing a joint Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) and Health Foundation report, the charities said that people spending ten years in residential care in the North East would spend an extra 6% of their assets on care, on average, as a result of the amendment. This is equivalent to an average increase in contribution of £5,700.
In Yorkshire and Humber, according to this research, people would spend an extra 5% of their assets, equivalent to £5,300, while in the Midlands there would be an increase in payments worth 4% of assets, equivalent to £4,600.
These increases compare to 2% in the South East and 1% in London, equivalent to £3,800 and £2,800 respectively.
Charles Tallack, director of data analytics at the Health Foundation, said: ‘The Government’s amendment represents a significant watering down of the pledge to protect people from catastrophic care costs.
‘At a time when the country is facing the biggest hit to household finances since the 1950s, Government should be looking to increase financial protection for poorer households. Yet this measure will disproportionally affect people with lower wealth and in poorer areas of the country. This is not levelling up: it’s unfair and a backwards step.’
Sally Warren, director of policy at The King’s Fund, said: ‘The Government’s change to the cap on social care costs is expected to save the Treasury money, but that saving comes at the expense of poorer people with lower levels of wealth and assets.
‘Many of those people will be wondering why the Prime Minister’s pledge that no one will have to sell their home to pay for their care no longer applies to them, whilst wealthier people are still protected from catastrophic care costs.’
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: 'The Health and Care Bill proposals provide a limit to the cost of care for everyone and strike the right balance between public contributions and people’s personal responsibility for planning for their care.
'They are necessary, fair and provide certainty and reassurance so people can both plan for their future and pass on more of what they have saved to their loved ones.'