A plan to introduce a cap on social care costs by the end of the decade has been dropped, the care minister has announced.
Jackie Doyle-Price said the government “will not” introduce a cap on costs in 2020 as previously legislated for in the Care Act 2014.
Sir Andrew Dilnot led the commission that recommended a lifetime cap, of between £25,000 and £50,000, on the amount an individual pays for social care. However, the coalition government proposed introducing a cap of £72,000 but delayed its implementation until 2020.
During the last general election, the Conservatives proposed dropping the Dilnot cap in favour of requiring individuals to fund both residential and domiciliary care until they have £100,000 left in assets, including property. Following a public backlash this was abandoned and the government has since announced plans to consult on the future sustainability of social care through a green paper.
Speaking in the House of Commons today, Ms Doyle-Price said the green paper will published “by summer 2018” and went on to add: “The prime minister has been clear that the consultation will include proposals to place a limit on the care costs that individuals face.
“To allow for fuller engagement and the development of the approach, and so that reforms to the care system and how it is paid for are considered in the round, we will not take forward the previous government’s plans to implement a cap on care costs in 2020.”
Ms Doyle-Price said the green paper “will focus primarily on reform of care for older people, but will consider elements of the adult care system that are common to all recipients of social care”.
An “inter-ministerial group” is overseeing the work of developing the green paper, she said. Experts, including Sir Andrew Dilnot and another review author Dame Kate Barker, will be asked for their views along with other stakeholders and service users.
Ms Doyle-Price said “there is broad agreement across Parliament that reform of social care is a priority”.
When repeatedly asked later in the debate if health and social care will be considered together, the minister said: “When I talk about social care, I do not talk about it to the exclusion of health but automatically include it. When people talk about the failure of the chancellor to mention social care, the reality is that more money was made available to the NHS, which will benefit the social care system.”
Shadow health minister Barbara Keeley said abandoning the plan to introduce the care cap in 2020 was “a shameful waste of taxpayers’ money” and parliamentary time as more than £1m “in today’s money was spent on commissioning the Dilnot review”.
She said “very many people are still faced with the catastrophic costs of paying for their care” and added: “Our social care system remains in a perilous state because of the cuts that this government have chosen to make.”