The Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (IFoA) has expressed disappointment with the UK government's plans to exclude means-tested council support payments from a new £86,000 cap on social care costs.
MPs narrowly voted to back the proposed cap in the Health and Care Bill last night, by 272 votes to 246, with the government's 80-seat majority successful in seeing off a Tory rebellion.
Fees for personal care, such as washing and dressing, will be included in the cap, but living costs, like care home fees and food or utility bills, will not.
Those with assets between £20,000 and £100,000 will qualify for council help, but will have to pay £86,000 themselves to reach the cap.
Prior to last night's vote, Chris Reynolds, chair of the IFoA's Health and Social Care Board, said: “The IFoA is disappointed at the proposed change to the Care Act 2014, not to include means-tested support from local authorities towards the £86,000 cap for personal care.
“This will disproportionally affect lower-value homeowners, who will end up paying the same as those in high value homes. Without fairness, the reforms are unlikely to achieve the consensus needed for a sustainable system going forward.”
The new rules will see those with assets of less than £20,000 pay nothing towards care fees, while those with more than £100,000 – including the value of their home, savings or investments – will not get any financial help from the council.
Defending the proposals, prime minister Boris Johnson, said: “Under the existing system, nobody gets any support if they have assets of £23,000 or more – now you get support if you have £100,000 or less, so we're helping people.
“We're addressing a long-standing social injustice and it will benefit the people of this country.”
Local authorities will meet care costs beyond the £86,000 cap, which is set be funded through a new health and social care levy.
“The IFoA calls on the government to ensure the social care portion of the new health and social care levy is ring-fenced after 2023, to help address the funding challenges in social care and provide better long-term certainty,” Reynolds said.
The bill will now go to the House of Lords, which is expected to push for changes.
Image credit: iStock
Author: Chris Seekings