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Govt could extend LTC deferred payment support

Care services minister Norman Lamb says the Government could increase the means test for the deferred payments system under long-term care reforms.

Under the Care Bill the local authority deferred payments system, which will allow funders to use equity in their home to defer care payments until they die, will only apply to those with less than £23,250 in non-property assets.

Lamb signed a joint statement of intent with the Association of British Insurers this week committing industry and Government to boosting the role of financial services in funding care and the role of regulated advice.

Speaking at the launch event, Lamb said the deferred payment means test could rise as high as £100,000.

Labour peer Lord David Lipsey is calling for the means test to end as it “cuts the balls off” reforms. Campaigners for a universal scheme claim self-funders will sell their homes rather than run down assets.

Lamb said: “The upfront cost significantly increases for us so it is a question of balance and targeting resources at those who most need it.

“We consulted on £23,250 but we have not reached a conclusion. I am not convinced by the argument that someone with assets of £100,000 beyond their home needs access to a deferred payment.”

Carematters director Brian Tabor says: “The deferred payments scheme is a wonderful idea on paper but will not be used as much as people think. The Government is right to means-test it.”

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