The government will delay capping the cost of care for older people until April 2020, the care minister has said.
In a letter to the Local Government Association, care minister Alistair Burt said the government would defer the implementation of the Care Act’s £72,000 cost cap, which should have begun next April.
He will also meet with the insurance industry to discuss how they could develop new products to deal with care costs.
He said the care cap proposals were “expected to add £6bn to public sector spending over the next five years” and that it was the wrong time to implement “expensive new commitments such as this, especially when there are no indications the private insurance market will develop as expected”.
The letter was a reply to the chair of LGA’s wellbeing board, Cllr Izzi Seccombe (Con), who had written to health secretary Jeremy Hunt and chancellor George Osborne earlier this month to ask them to delay implementation of the cap because of the funding crisis in social care.
He said the government would also defer the implementation of the duty on councils to meet the eligible needs of self-funders in care homes until April 2020. Research for the County Councils Network found this could have added £1bn to councils spend on care homes by the end of the decade.
Mr Burt said he would also delay the proposed appeals system for care and support so that it could be considered in the spending review.
He also said he would hold an urgent meeting during the summer with the Treasury and figures from the insurance industry on the impact of the announcement and how government could help them develop new products.
He wrote: “For example, the new pension flexibilities that were introduced in April create a real opportunity for us to work with the financial sector to look at what new products may be developed, thereby creating even more choice, and this is something I am keen to explore. To this end I will be holding an urgent meeting with representatives from the insurance industry along with HM Treasury and other government ministers to work through what this announcement means for them and how government can help them to bring forward new products. These discussions will continue over the summer.”
More to follow