Social care cap is DELAYED for two years: Charities fear Government’s policy may now NEVER happen

The move , announced by Jeremy Hunt (pictured in Parliament this morning), is expected to save £1billion next year and up to £3billion in subsequent years if it is further pushed back

The cap on the amount people have to pay towards social care has been delayed for two years, the Chancellor confirmed today.

It means the £86,000 limit people in England would have to spend for their care will no longer come into effect next October — a pledge made by the Government last year.

The move, announced by Jeremy Hunt, is expected to save £1billion next year and up to £3billion in subsequent years if the cap is further pushed back.

He said the increasing number of over-80s is putting ‘massive pressure’ on services and there is ‘very real concerns’ among local authorities that the cap can’t be delivered in the near future.

‘So, I will delay the implantation of this important reforms for two years,’ the former Health Secretary said. 

But experts warn it will leave thousands facing catastrophic costs for their care and potentially forced to sell their homes — labelling the delay ‘cruel and wrong’.

Mr Hunt also revealed that the social care sector will get £2.8billion more cash next year and £4.7billion the following year to provide care for an extra 200,000 people.

In return for the pay-outs, the sector will have to take on some of the 13,500 patients currently stuck in hospitals who cannot be discharged into social care due to a lack of capacity.

It is part of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s bid to fill a £55billion gap in public finances through a combination of spending cuts and tax rises.

The graph shows the relationship between the assets people in England start out with and the proportion of these assets they will have to use to pay for care under the current system (black line) and the proposed £86,000 social care cap (purple line)

The graph shows the relationship between the assets people in England start out with and the proportion of these assets they will have to use to pay for care under the current system (black line) and the proposed £86,000 social care cap (purple line) 

What was the social care cap? 

Announced by Boris Johnson last September, the cap would have seen people in England pay no more than £86,000 towards care in their lifetime.

Everyone would have also started to receive means-tested support once their assets fall to £100,000 – four times the current level.

And no one with assets of less than £20,000 would have to pay towards social care — up from the current £14,000. 

Mr Johnson said the Government would also invest in the quality of care to address fears Britons have about how their loved ones will be looked after. 

As it stands, people have to pay the full cost of their social care until their assets — including the value of their houses — falls below £23,250.

It means people who have saved up all their lives to own a home lose almost all of its value, while those who have never saved get their care for free.

And care needs are unpredictable — with some requiring little or none in their lifetime, while others are heavily reliant on carers and chalk up hundreds of thousands of pounds in bills. 

Boris Johnson pledged to ‘fix the crisis in social care’ when he became Prime Minister in 2019.

He unveiled the cap in September 2021, stating that governments had ‘ducked’ the social care issue for decades and that there could be ‘no more dither and dally’. 

The cap was set to be introduced in October 2023. But it has now been postponed. 

Setting out his autumn statement, Mr Hunt said he has ‘listened to extensive representations about the challenges facing the social care sector’. 

He said: ‘It did a heroic job looking after children, disabled adults and older people in this country in the pandemic. 

‘It’s 1.6million employees worked incredibly hard. 

‘But even outside the pandemic the increasing number of over-80s is putting massive pressure on their services.’

Mr Hunt added: ‘I will delay the implantation of this important reform for two years, allocating the funding to allow local authorities to provide more care packages. 

‘I also want the social care system to help free up some of the 13,500 hospital beds that are occupied by those who should be at home. 

‘So, I’ve decided to allocate for adult social care, additional grant funding of £1billion next year and £1.7billion the year after.’

He said the extra case equates to extra funding for the social care sector of up to £2.8billion in 2023 and £4.7billion in 2024.

Mr Hunt said: ‘That’s a big increase. But how we look after our most vulnerable citizens is not just a practical issue, it speaks to our values as a society. 

‘So, today’s decision will allow the social care system to deliver an estimated 200,000 more care packages over the next two years, the biggest increase in funding under any government, of any colour in history.’

The Daily Mail revealed this month that Jeremy Hunt and Health Secretary Steve Barclay had agreed to push back the cap.

The move means the cap is unlikely to be introduced before October 2025 — after the next general election, which is expected to take place in 2024.

Campaigners fear the delay is a way of phasing out the plans completely.

Postponing the cap is expected to save £1billion in 2023, rising to £3billion a year if the policy is scrapped. 

Council chiefs, who are responsible for social care services, had urged the Government to ditch the plan, warning the system already faces a £3billion funding blackhole without the extra pressures.

They warned the cap would add to their costs and require additional staff ‘who simply don’t exist’. 

But Sir Andrew Dilnot, the economist who devised the blueprint for the care cap, said earlier this month that it would be ‘completely unacceptable’ to delay the plan.

The most needy and vulnerable will be let down and be a breach of the manifesto, he said. 

Families have already been budgeting on the assumption that they could rely on the cap, Sir Andrew said.

As it stands, only those who have the highest need for care and little cash can access Government-funded social care.

People have to pay the full cost of their social care until their assets — including the value of their houses — falls below £23,250.

It means people who have saved up all their lives to own a home lose almost all of its value, while those who have never saved get their care for free.

And care needs are unpredictable — with some requiring little or none in their lifetime, while others are heavily reliant on carers and chalk up hundreds of thousands of pounds in bills. 

Boris Johnson pledged to ‘fix the crisis in social care’ when he became Prime Minister in 2019.

Jimmy Quinn's family was forced to sell his home and cash in his life savings to fund his care after he developed Alzheimer's disease

Jimmy Quinn’s family was forced to sell his home and cash in his life savings to fund his care after he developed Alzheimer’s disease

His daughter Natalie said they had to sell his home in Yeovil and his ISA savings to fund care costs

His daughter Natalie said they had to sell his home in Yeovil and his ISA savings to fund care costs 

He unveiled the cap in September 2021, stating that governments had ‘ducked’ the social care issue for decades and that there could be ‘no more dither and dally’. 

The plan would have seen the state step in after a person spent more than £86,000 on their care.

Everyone would have also started to receive means-tested support once their assets fall to £100,000 — four times the current level.

But Mr Sunak, who was Chancellor in Mr Johnson’s Government, warned it would require billions to fund.

This saw a national insurance hike of1.25 per cent, to fund both the cap and the NHS Covid recovery plan.

Former Prime Minister Liz Truss in September scrapped the rise but pledged that ‘nobody would have to sell their home to pay for care’ — one of the 2019 Tory manifesto pledges. 

Thousands of Britons have been forced to put their houses on the market to pay for their care.

The family of Jimmy Quinn, a Falklands veteran, was forced to sell his home in Yeovil and cash in his life savings to fund his care after he developed Alzheimer’s disease. 

Mr Quinn, who was an aircraft mechanic in the Navy, needed specialist dementia care after his condition deteriorated during lockdown, leaving his family facing a £1,400-a-week care bill.

His daughter Natalie said the Government’s reform would have been a comfort to her family. 

She said: ‘My parents worked so hard for everything and had been careful with their money all their lives, so it was really sad to have to sell dad’s ISAs and the house they loved, but it was the only way to pay the care home bill.’ 

Mr Quinn died eight weeks after his family sold the house. But they were expecting he would need care for months or years.

The devastating cost of care: Veteran’s family was forced to sell his house to fund £1,400-a-week Alzheimer’s bill 

Jimmy Quinn’s family was forced to sell his home and cash in his life savings to fund his care after he developed Alzheimer’s disease.

The Falklands veteran needed specialist dementia care after his condition deteriorated during lockdown, leaving his family facing a £1,400-a-week care bill.

His daughter Natalie said they had to sell his home in Yeovil and his ISA savings to fund the costs, and said the Government’s reform would have been a comfort to her family.

She said: ‘My parents worked so hard for everything and had been careful with their money all their lives, so it was really sad to have to sell dad’s ISAs and the house they loved, but it was the only way to pay the care home bill.’

Mr Quinn served in the Navy as an aircraft mechanic and was stationed on the aircraft carrier HMS Invincible during the Falklands Conflict in 1982.

He was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s last year and died in February, aged 75.

His daughter said: ‘He had been living at home with mild dementia but then all of a sudden he became very confused and would go out walking the streets. He almost got run over, and then he left the gas on, so we just couldn’t cope.

‘Sadly he died eight weeks after we sold the house, but we were expecting that he would need care for months and months, maybe even for years.

‘These changes have come too late for me and my family, but it is a step in the right direction, and it would have helped us to know that there was a cap on how much money we would have had to find.’

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