England’s social care ceiling will see poorest areas lose a larger share of property | Social Security

Homeowners in England’s poorest areas face losing three times the share of their housing wealth to pay for social care than people in the wealthiest areas, Guardian analysis reveals.

Last week, ministers decided to exclude the means-tested financing of care by the council from a new £86,000 care ceiling, forcing people to pay more for their care. The plan ensures that homeowners requiring long-term aged care in the most underprivileged northern areas spend on average at least 60% of their eligible property values, compared to 20% in the wealthiest southern areas, analysis shows.

It means the controversial policy, which narrowly passed the House of Commons by 272 votes to 246, will hit voters in Blackpool, County Durham and Hull, where average house prices are below £120,000, much harder than in Winchester, Guildford. and Brentwood. where they averaged over £450,000.

The analysis of the 10% least and most deprived areas in the official index of multiple deprivation uses median real estate prices and probably underestimates the proportion of wealth paid by the average retiree.

Jeremy Hunt, the former health minister, on Monday attacked the policy as “very disappointing” and said it was “less progressive than hoped”. But he stopped supporting a conservative backseat uprising. Tory MPs said there was great irritation at the way the change had been announced.

“There is an operation underway from No 10 and the Ministry of Health and Social Care (DHSC) to provide reassurance, but it still underscores the fact that we are again being told one thing and the details turn out to be different,” said one of them. . The government has flogged MPs to leave Monday’s winter dinner to raise money early to vote.

During his speech in the House of Commons, Health Minister Edward Argar championed the change that goes against what was originally proposed by the architect of the healthcare cap, Sir Andrew Dilnot. “We’ve always intended that the cap should apply to what people contribute personally, rather than the combination of their personal contribution and that of the state,” he said.

Argar said, disapproving of the Labor banks, that “no one will lose from these reforms compared to the system we have now, and the overwhelming majority will win.”

The government has not provided an impact assessment of the change. Former head whip Mark Harper said he would vote against the plan. “It potentially disadvantages the less fortunate and those of working age with lifelong conditions,” he said.

Labor described the changes as “daylight raid”. “If you live in a £1m house, maybe in the home countries, 90% of your assets will be protected if you need social care, but if you live in an £80,000 terraced house in Hartlepool or Mansfield or Wigan for example, you lose almost everything,” said Jon Ashworth, shadow secretary of health.

The decision to exclude the council’s means-tested funding for care from the £86,000 care ceiling risks a backlash from Tory voters in marginal seats – the latest in a series of government moves, including the new railway strategy and the treatment of the row over MPs as second jobs that were feared would strain relations with party supporters. Three of County Durham’s six MPs are Conservatives who defeated Labor in the 2019 general election as part of the demolition of the so-called “red wall”.

Downing Street said Monday the new limit is still much more generous than the current system, meaning people across the country will have to sell their homes. But government officials have admitted that changes in how the cap on care will be provided means that up to a quarter of older adults who receive residential care in England could end up taking more of their wealth than had been envisioned when the proposals were put forward. the upper limit were first enacted into law in 2014.

It means that at least 125,000 people could face higher costs simultaneously than if the original vision for the care ceiling, conceived by economist Sir Andrew Dilnot, were realized. Dilnot said Monday the proposal will not avoid “catastrophic” costs for many who will still be forced to sell their homes. Hunt lamented the “slightly more stingy cap” but urged conservative back seats not to rebel against the reform, suggesting the formula could be changed by future governments.

Downing Street stressed that the reform was “necessary, fair and responsible”. The Prime Minister’s spokesman said: “The system benefits those who are the worst off. Currently, anyone with assets over £23,350 pays for their health care costs. Under the new system, anyone with assets under £20,000 won’t have to pay anything at all, protecting those with the least protection.”

DHSC only counts health care bills that are privately paid rather than subsidized by the taxpayer towards the ceiling. This means that a poorer person who stays in a care home for a long time will still have to pay up to £86,000 out of their own funds, even if the council pays part of their bill. They can end up paying the same as a richer person.

It will save the government £900million a year by 2027, but Dilnot said: “For those with assets of less than £100,000, for example, we are not tackling catastrophic costs … for the less fortunate, although we are for the better .”

He has said anyone under £186,000 in wealth will be less wealthy under the new scheme than expected under his version of the plan, which was legislated in 2014 but not put into practice.

Leave a Comment