This House of Commons Library briefing paper looks at the Government’s announcements that postponed the introduction of funding reforms regarding how individuals pay for social care, including a more generous means-test and a cap on lifetime social care costs. A link to the full report in pdf format can be found at the bottom of this page.
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In July 2015, the Government announced that it would delay – from April 2016 to April 2020 – reform of social care funding that had been drawn up in the light of the recommendations of the Care and Support Commission, chaired by Sir Andrew Dilnot. The Government cited the expected £6 billion cost of the policy (over five years) at “a time of consolidation” as the reason for the delay, and noted the “genuine concerns raised by stakeholders” about the introduction of the changes.
The Government did not commit to introduce the cap or the means-test at the proposed April 2016 levels, stating that “a decision on these [parameters] will be taken nearer the time” of their then-proposed introduction in April 2020.
In addition, the Government also postponed the introduction of local authority “brokering” on behalf of self-funders wishing to move into a care home, and the new appeals system, both of which were also due to come into effect in April 2016.
In December 2017, the revised date of April 2020 for the introduction of the cap was dropped and no new date was announced. The Government told the House that this postponement was necessary “to allow for fuller engagement and the development of the approach, and so that reforms to the care system and how it is paid for are considered in the round”. It added that “further details of the Government’s plans will be set out after we have consulted on the options”. It is not clear if the introduction of the more generous means-test and other measures above will also be postponed from April 2020.
The Government has stated that it will publish a Green Paper on social care for older people by the 2018 parliamentary summer recess (which starts on 25 July), and undertake a parallel programme of work in regard to social care for working age adults.
This note relates to England.