Lack of detail ‘annoying’ as long-term care costs cap set to be agreed

Experts frustrated ahead of key ministerial meeting

Experts have called on the government to provide more specific details about a cap on what people in England pay towards their social care, ahead of a key ministerial meeting on the subject.

Ministers are expected to agree this week in principle on the introduction of the cap but experts do not expect them to provide detail on what that will specifically be.

Health Secretary Andrew Lansley has said that legislation to change the funding of social care for elderly and disabled people in England could be introduced during this Parliament.

Last July, a review chaired by economist Andrew Dilnot put forward a number of ideas for changes to adult social care funding in England. Among those suggestions was the introduction of a £35,000 cap on what people should pay towards home visits or care home costs before they get help from the state.

But as ministers prepare to agree in principle on the cap, opposition MPs and campaigners say the plans are meaningless without more details and a timetable.

Specialist financial advisers with experience of advising people with long-term care needs have also expressed frustration at the lack of detail that is expected to result from this week’s meeting.

Andy Page, care fees specialist at wealth manager Ashcourt Rowan, said the lack of detail and progress around the issue is “annoying”.

He added: “How can people plan for the future with such uncertainty?”

However, Page said he applauded any commitment to the principles of a cap and a higher means test threshold.

He said: “Overall it will be good to see something in print after such a long wait, but it looks like tomorrow’s announcement will be a bland statement. Why the delay if the report will merely say ‘we agree but can’t afford it’?”

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