This week, the Government announced reforms to how care fees will be funded from 2017. Many of my constituents have long been concerned about the unfairness of having to sell their home to pay for care fees, and so seeing their assets, which they worked hard to earn, dwindle away to £23,000. I don’t think the current situation is fair, and this policy will ensure that people are able to keep more of their assets.
Successive governments have ducked this issue due to the significant cost of any reform. The changes proposed this week therefore represent a long overdue effort to produce a fairer position.
The proposals announced would see the means test level raised from £23,500 to £123,000, meaning that people with assets below £123,000 would get some help from the state towards their care fees. This will mean that many more people are helped than under the current system. There will also be a cap on the amount that people will have to pay for nursing care, which will be set at £75,000. While this is still a significant amount, for people who need substantial care for a long period, this will be a great help.
The changes also mean that the insurance market can better serve the needs of people who may be worried that they’ll need care as they age.
The policy is fully-costed and will be funded through the National Insurance changes announced in connection with the second state pension and by freezing the Inheritance Tax threshold for 3 years at £325,000. While many people will be concerned at the freeze in this threshold, I do consider the changes in funding for social care are so important that this represents real progress for the majority of people.