Later LifeJun 7 2017

Social care cap should be set at £60k, finds Saga 

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Social care cap should be set at £60k, finds Saga 

Whoever wins the election this week, plans for social care funding should be a key focus for the next government, according to Saga Money.  

However the provider of financial services for the over 50s added the new government should be mindful of the impacts this policy may have on the behaviour of those who are deemed able to afford to pay towards their own care.

A survey by Saga Money of 2,004 UK adults with 897 respondents aged 50 or over. suggested that, while many over 50s agree people who can afford it should contribute towards their care, setting the contribution they have to make too high would put them off saving for their future.

Home owners were most likely to say this. 

A third of over 50s say if they had to pay care costs down to their last £100,000 they would not save for their future.

Nine in ten over 50s believe there should be a care fee cap which should be set at £60,000. Even renters agree that having to sell the home to pay for care even after death is not right.

Nici Audhlam-Gardiner, managing director of Saga Money, said: “The survey clearly shows that people are supportive of contributing  to their own care, but not at any price.

"People find it grossly unfair that some people get all costs funded by the state, whilst others are faced with losing a huge part of the estate they have worked hard to build up.  

“They strongly believe there should be a cap on care fees and that this should be set at around £60,000.  If the government sets the cap too high or the floor too low then people of all ages are saying that this would put them off building wealth for the future.

 “The concept of selling the family home before or after death to pay for care does not sit well with three quarters of people, but it is not just homeowners looking to protect their inheritance that feel this way.  

"A similar number of people in rented accommodation also said that this concept was not right.  

"Clearly, we need to find a sustainable solution to our care funding crisis, however without a realistic care cap in place, the move risks having the opposite effect with people choosing to spend now rather than buying their homes or saving for later life – leaving the state to pick up an even bigger bill for the future!”

Tom McPhail, head of retirement policy at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: "There should be a cap: a cap and collar approach would bring a fair solution for individuals and the taxpayer."

Fiona Tait, director, Intelligent Pensions, said: "People must be encouraged to save for their future whenever they can.

"State benefits are intended to provide a basic level of support to those who need it, not a comfortable living.

"Quite apart from the burden placed on the state saving gives you choices. Choosing not to save because of the proposed changes means you are choosing to accept this basic level of care, not just in later life but potentially at any time when unforeseen circumstances result in a claim on state benefits". 

"There is of course another option which could be considered. The ex-pensions minister Ros Altman has proposed an income tax exemption for people withdrawing pension funds to pay directly for care in their old age. Where sufficient funds have been built up this could avoid having to call on property assets at all."