Government ministers have announced that the planned cap on care spending, which is due to limit personal care costs to £72,000 for those over 65, will now be delayed until 2020.
It had also been hoped that insurance companies would widely release products to cover the initial £72,000 – however, only a few schemes have been released following the announcement of the cap.
In a statement, the Department of Health said that it was still firmly committed to the cap, as well as increasing the number of people who get help by raising the limit on personal assets from £23,250 to £118,000. However, they stated that they will need to “think carefully” about how the changes are introduced, and that more updates will follow.
Some bodies, such as the Local Government Association, welcomed the move, saying that the underfunded care system was unable to cope with the changes and that to go ahead would be deeply damaging. Caroline Abrahams of Age UK also said that the delay was the right decision, but added that "what matters now is that the government grasps the scale of the galloping [care] crisis and uses the spending review to bring forward effective solutions."
Others have criticised the changes, with Labour's shadow care minister Liz Kendall saying that it was “devastating news for older people and their families who have been trying to plan for the future". Jeremy Hughes, from the Alzheimer’s Society, also said they were disappointed at the announcement, with concerns that it “will cause unacceptable costs to continue to be borne by people with dementia and their families into the next decade.”
Fiona Lowry, our CEO, commented: “This news highlights the need to address the growing cost of providing good care for our growing elderly population. The Government needs to ensure that care is adequately funded - potentially through making good insurance products available, to help individuals contribute to and have choice over the range of care options and providers, and feel secure in the provision made for their loved ones.”