DHSC announces plans to index link care cap proposals

Government has added in powers to index link  the level of the care cap proposed in England, despite a blow to the passage of the Health and Care Bill through Parliament.

The new move will enable the upper and lower capital limits and the level of daily living costs (DLCs) to be reviewed and updated annually.

Primary legislation sets out that the level of the cap should increase in line with average earnings, and that the level of the cap should be set in regulations each year. The DHSC has advised that the level of upper and lower capital limits and DLCs are for ministers to determine each year, through the setting of regulations. These may rise in line with inflation.

Members of the House of Lords recently voted to reject a government change to the cap on social care costs within the Health and Care Bill  

The cross-party amendment to delete the part of legislation pertaining to the cap on care costs for charging purposes, was passed 198-158.

The amendment scrapped plans that would have excluded any costs paid by councils toward adult social care from the proposed £86,000 cap.

The government will likely attempt to reinsert the measure in the House of Commons, where 19 Conservative MPs rebelled against it last time around.

In response to the House of Lords vote, Anita Charlesworth, director of Research and the REAL Centre at the Health Foundation, said: “Members of the House of Lords have taken the right decision on social care reform by rejecting the government’s proposed changes to the Care Act. The Government’s amendment is a step in the wrong direction. It has substantial real-world consequences for those with lower assets, in effect increasing the time it could take for them to reach the £86,000 cap on care costs.”

‘When MPs originally voted in support of the government’s amendment they were effectively voting in the dark. Research from the IFS and the Health Foundation has since shown that the change would leave more people worse off compared to the original reform proposals. Among older people, those most affected are those with modest assets and wealth, and by region, those living the North East, Yorkshire and the Humber, and the Midlands. It will also disproportionately affect working age adults with disabilities.

‘Now that MPs have more information about the consequences of this change we urge them to follow in the footsteps of the Lords and reverse what would be a regressive change and one that is opposite to levelling up.’

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