Out-Law News | 18 Nov 2022 | 4:43 pm | 1 min. read
The UK chancellor’s decision to delay the start of the lifetime cap on care costs is a “final nail in the coffin” for the concept, according to one legal expert.
Daniel Braithwaite of Pinsent Masons was commenting after Jeremy Hunt delivered his autumn statement (70 pages / 5.94MB PDF) on Thursday in which he outlined tax rises and spending cuts designed to balance public spending. The chancellor told MPs that the government had taken the “difficult decision” to delay the national rollout of social care charging reforms by two years, from October 2023 to October 2025.
The planned reforms would introduce a new universal £86,000 cap on the amount anyone in England will spend on their personal care throughout their life. Hunt said local authorities had raised concerns over the changes, which would also require them to provide financial support to people with less than £100,000 of chargeable assets – up from the current threshold of £23,250. He added that the two-year delay would enable local authorities to address current adult social care pressures.
However, Braithwaite said the chancellor’s decision represented “the final nail in the coffin” for the concept of a lifetime cap on personal care costs. “While the idea may be revisited, individuals will have to accept that, unless and until their assets fall below the £23,250 means test level, they will be required to fund their own care, living costs and accommodation,” he said.
Hunt pledged to provide an additional £2.8 billion to the NHS in England in 2023-2024 and an additional £4.7bn in 2024-2025 to help support adult social care and discharge. The increase includes £1bn of new grant funding in 2023-24 and £1.7 billion in 2024-25, which Hunt said would “put the adult social care system on a stronger financial footing” and “improve the quality of and access to care”.
Braithwaite said: “The unveiling of the additional £1bn funding is on the face of it good news. But if the additional amounts made available to local authorities for Covid-19 measures via the Adult Social Care Infection Control Funds are to fall away, then it will mean that funding for the sector will actually be at a two-year low.”