The Department of Health is delaying its plans to implement a £72,000 cap on the cost of long-term care.
The cap was expected to come into force from next April, but has now been delayed until 2020.
Care and support minister Alastair Burt says: “A time of consolidation is not the right moment to be implementing expensive new commitments such as this, especially when there are no indications the private insurance market will develop as expected.”
Burt adds the Government will continue to work with the financial sector on how to create products to meet the cost of care.
He says: “To this end I will be holding an urgent meeting with representatives from the insurance industry along with the 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.”
The cap was devised following a review led by economist Andrew Dilnot, which recommended a limit of £35,000.
Partnership director of corporate affairs Jim Boyd says the move to end an “eye-wateringly expensive” proposal is unsurprising, and may see the cap axed completely.
He says: “If you delay the cap to 2020 it could disappear into the long grass altogether.
“It was being pushed by the Lib Dems, but it was always seen as expensive and very bureaucratic.”
Conservatives have quietly distancing themselves from the policy for months. In February, Prime Minister David Cameron stopped making specific references to the plan.
A Conservative spokeswoman told Money Marketing at the time that this did not represent a downgrade for the policy.
She said: “From April 2016 the Government will pay for people’s care once the cost to them hits £72,000 – and the threshold for the means test on residential care will rise from £23,000 to £118,000.
“That way those with the most serious needs can be certain that their costs will not keep piling up.”