The Government is set to implement Andrew Dilnot’s long-term care funding reforms and introduce a £35,000 cap on individuals’ contribution to care costs, according to reports.
The decision represents a significant about-turn for the coalition. Last month, Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said while the Government supported the idea of a cap and an increase in the means-tested threshold to £100,000 in principle, a final decision on how to pay for the reforms will not be made until the next spending review.
Currently there is no cap on the costs of care and the means-tested threshold is £23,250.
According to reports, the plans, which will cost the Treasury around £2bn, have now been revived and will be included in a Care and Support Bill in the autumn.
Partnership corporate affairs director Jim Boyd says: “The real concern here is that consumers look at these headlines and believe there is a benefit which is imminent, but there is not.
“People will put off making decisions on long-term care because they think the Government will cap everything, but even if these reforms are eventually implemented there are costs which are not covered by the cap, such as accommodation and food.
“The trouble is reforming long-term care is simply too politically tough to handle because you have to take tough decisions. You have to say something unpopular to the British public because at the moment most people think care is free.
“If you as a Government tell people they have to pay for care, you will get spanked electorally. If you start telling people they have to use their houses, that is also a vote loser.”
In January, Money Marketing revealed concerns among senior Liberal Democrats that Dilnot’s proposals could be regressive, expensive and bureaucratic.
In February, Partnership chief executive Steve Groves and Cass Business School professor Les Mahew outlined alternative reform options to those put forward by Dilnot.