May Ditches Long Term Care Fees Cap By 2020


Prime Minister Theresa May is rumoured to have quietly booted a lid on long term care fees into the long grass of the political wilderness.

For six years, Tories have pledged to put a cap on care fees but failed to deliver on the promise.

Former Prime Minister David Cameron welcomed the Dilnott Report on long term care in 2011 and made the recommendation of a £75,000 limit a policy he would introduce by 2020.

Years later, May is said to have rejected the policy, despite some calls to raise the threshold to £100,000.

The care fees threshold would take an extraordinary act of political bravery to implement at a time when the government is struggling to raise enough cash to fund the NHS and local councils.

Change in approach

Current rules work on a lower threshold that means the State pays care bills when someone has assets of less than £23,500.

The Dilnott proposal switched this strategy around to one where people would only pay the first £75,000 of long term care bills and the state would pay the rest.

Official figures suggest the cost of long term care is between £50,000 and £92,000 for pensioners, depending on where they live.

The Department of Health says the policy will be put out for consultation – but cannot say when.

A spokesman would not comment on speculation the policy would be delayed beyond 2020 or the level of the potential fees cap.

Dogged with uncertainty

The original Dilnott recommendation was a cap of £35,000 and the state picking up the rest of the long-term care tab.

In May, the Prime Minister announced she wanted to scrap the policy but was forced to resurrect the plan after a public outcry.

How the policy may progress is now unclear.

The long-term fee cap is dogged with uncertainty like so many of Theresa May’s policies. If she loses her job, no one knows what her successor will do with the policy, meanwhile she seems unable to decide what to do.

Meanwhile, the longer she waits, pensioners spend more of their retirement cash on care fees but the government saves money.

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