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Response on today's unconfirmed media speculation on funding cap for social care
Date of article: 16-Aug-12
Article By: Rachel Baker, News Editor
Care costs will be capped at £35,000 if articles in today’s newspapers are true. The UK media is leading with news that the Prime Minister has committed the coalition to meeting the costs of a cap on care at the next spending review, which will be announced this autumn, according to “senior Whitehall sources”.
This unconfirmed change in direction is understandably receiving comment and speculation from charities and organisations within the care sector.
Alzheimer’s Society said: ‘It is expected that the revised plans will follow recommendations made in the Dilnot report to cap the amount of money individuals pay for their care at £35,000, with the Government paying the difference. It is also anticipated that the current means tested threshold will rise from £23,250 to £100,000.’
Andrew Chidgey, Alzheimer’s Society director of external affairs said: “If David Cameron decides to follow the Dilnot recommendations, it could end the extortionate costs some people currently pay for care. However, we need meat on the bones of these proposals before we can say for sure what a difference they will make.
“We also need to ensure short term measures are put in place between now and 2017, to prevent any more vulnerable people, including the thousands with dementia, from falling victim to the crumbling social care system. There are currently 800,000 people living with dementia in the UK, and in the next five years this is set to increase. We need action now.”
Shaun Williams, director of corporate affairs at Leonard Cheshire Disability, has also responded: “If confirmed, we are delighted that the Government seems to have taken on board the recommendations of the Dilnot Commission to cap the amount people will pay for care at £35,000. This could prove to be a pivotal moment for our social care system.
“It is a question of fundamental decency that disabled and older people should be able to live their lives with dignity, safe in the knowledge that, should they need care, they will not have to give up their homes, or face charges that push them into poverty.
“However, it is vital that that the full set of proposals from the Dilnot Commission are taken forward, including those that focus on support for younger disabled people. We need a social care system that works for everyone, and ensures that younger disabled people are not denied the right to build up savings or buy their own home because of the costs of their care.”
A statement released by the Department of Health said: "As we made clear when we published our progress report on social care funding reform, the Government supports in principle a capped-cost model as recommended by the Dilnot Commission. It would, as Andrew Dilnot himself said, enable people to plan and prepare, so that they are not so vulnerable to the arbitrary impact of catastrophic care costs.
"We are continuing to explore a range of options for funding such a system, and as we have said any proposal which includes extra public spending must be considered alongside other priorities at the Spending Review. The recent press speculation you refer to is entirely consistent with the approach we have already set out."
Speaking about the Care and Support White Paper, last month, Care Services Minister, Paul Burstow said: “People want a social care system that is fair, high quality and geared towards what people actually want. Our White Paper, draft Bill and progress report mark the most significant Government action in over 60 years to fix a system that is fragmented, confusing and massively variable in terms of quality and provision.
“We are reforming social care and will bring about lasting change to an overwhelmed and outdated system. Our plans will help to drive up standards of care for people, bring about a more joined up preventative approach to care, enabling people to live independently for longer. “Most importantly however, it will put people at the centre of their own care and give them more information to make the right choices about their needs.”
Keep checking www.carehome.co.uk/news for the latest news, updates and comment on the situation.