By Our Family Home Care
MPs have rejected calls from peers to revaluate the cap on care costs, following a vote in favour of the policy last night in the House of Commons. Despite peers calling on the Government to reconsider the reform plan, MPs voted 247 to 150, majority 97, on Wednesday night.
Back in November 2021, the government proposed an amendment to the Care Act that would mean means-tested support does not count for an individual’s progress towards the social care cost cap. The proposed amendment to how the cap will work would significantly reduce the protection against large costs.
Amongst older people, our analysis finds the greatest impact would be on those with modest levels of wealth. Working-age adults with a modest income and significant care costs could also be significantly affected by the government’s proposed reform.
Under the government’s plans, those in the second wealth quintile of those aged 65 and older (wealth per person of between £83,000 and £183,000) would face the biggest loss of protection against high care costs, relative to the system under existing legislation.
In response to House of Commons votes on the Health and Care Bill, Hugh Alderwick, Director of Policy at the Health Foundation, said:
‘MPs voted the wrong way yesterday on two crucial issues.
‘Despite the government's pledge to ‘fix’ social care ‘once and for all’, there is clear evidence that their social care amendment on the Health and Care Bill would make planned reforms to introduce a ‘cap’ to care costs far less fair and generous than originally expected. People with lower levels of wealth would be hit hardest – and some will still face crippling care costs.
‘Research from the IFS and the Health Foundation has found those living in the North East, Yorkshire and the Humber, and the Midlands would see the biggest erosion of their protection against large care costs. This is not levelling up: it’s unfair and a backwards step. The country is already facing the biggest hit to household finances since the 1950s – and this change in how the care ‘cap’ works risks providing another blow to poorer households.
‘While the vote is disappointing, if the Lords continue to push for change, there is still an opportunity for government to rethink the proposals to make them fairer and more generous.
‘The Health and Care Bill also provides a major opportunity for the government to create a better system for workforce planning. Staffing issues in the NHS and social care are chronic. But by voting down the workforce planning amendment, MPs have missed an important chance to put in place a more efficient way of planning the health workforce of the future.
‘We now hope that the House of Lords encourages the government to think again on these issues, and that government remains open to compromise before the Bill passed into law.’
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