Care Bill [Lords]

Written evidence submitted by United for All Ages (CB 04)

1. Will the cap make the care system easier and simpler? No. It will make the current complex care system even more complicated – with two caps, a confusing means test, new eligibility criteria, qualifying care and multiple assessments.

2. Will the cap prevent older people having to sell their homes? No. The £72,000 proposed cap is on qualifying care costs only – in addition older people living in care homes would face large bills for the so-called ‘hotel’ costs eg food, accommodation, daily living expenses, plus any top-ups for care costs that exceed the local authority standard rate. An older person would probably have to live in a care home for five years before reaching the cap (the average stay is just over a year). So older people could be faced with bills of £200,000 plus and still have to sell their home – either while alive or after death to refund a deferred payment.

3. Will the cap meet growing unmet need? No. The plans do not bring extra cash into the care system – they substitute private spending by some (mainly wealthy) individuals with public spending – and they will do nothing to promote better quality care through better training, pay and conditions for staff. The cap will not meet current unmet needs (almost one million older people are not getting the support they need) let alone growing demands of our ageing population in the future.

4. Will the cap promote prevention and support the integration of care and health? No. It will not promote prevention – it is all about how crisis care, mainly towards the end of life, should be funded. We need a fundamental shift towards ageing well as well as better care for those who need it. The cap will not promote integration of care and health and community initiatives to support older people at home and prevent high level needs. It will create a new separate funding stream mainly to pay for expensive residential care.

5. Will the cap benefit those struggling to pay for care and help older people and their families on low-mid incomes? No. The cap is primarily about protecting the inheritances of wealthier families while impoverishing older people with low/mid value homes. The plans will leave many more older people struggling on their own, relying on family carers or using their own resources to pay for care. Even poorer older people with assets less than £118,000 will find that the tapered means test requires them to make substantial contributions towards their care costs.

With care in crisis, this Bill is not going to tackle the shortfall in care funding and the growing unmet needs facing our ageing population.

January 2014

Prepared 10th January 2014