Social care costs likely to be capped

The cost of social care for the elderly will be capped at £75,000, the government has announced.

In a series of wide-ranging reforms on how care for the elderly is funded, Jeremy Hunt, the health secretary, is increasing the means-tested support threshold from £23,250 to £123,000.

The proposals, which are a response to a review by economist Andrew Dilnot, will stop people from having to sell their home to pay for care, Hunt told the BBC.

He added that 10 per cent of people currently spend more than £100,000 on care.

Moving in the right direction

Ros Altmann, director-general of Saga, comments: 'At last, it seems that we are going to move in the right direction to help people understand how social care works and what their responsibility will be.'
However, the £75,000 cap is much higher than the £25,000 to £50,000 limit recommended by the Dilnot review.

Michelle Mitchell, director general of Age UK, says she is disappointed the cap has been set so high.

'However, the most important test will be how much difference these proposals make to older people's lives and we don't yet have enough detail to know this for sure,' she says.

Sally Greengross, chief executive of the International Longevity Centre, a think tank on social demographics, says spending on long-term care is projected to rise by £14 billion by 2061.

'The announcement will help individuals and families who are currently hit hardest by the ever-growing cost of care,' she says.  

'Yet social care is in crisis today and too many people get inadequate care and support. The problem isn't just a long-term one - for the sake of today's care recipients, we must also work to address the current crisis.'

The reforms are expected to be funded by freezing the inheritance tax threshold at £325,000 until 2019. It has been the same since 2009.

The freeze represents a U-turn on what chancellor George Osborne announced in his Autumn Statement in December. He said that the IHT threshold would rise to £329,000 in the 2015/16 tax year.

This article was written for our sister website Moneywise

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