Election 2017  

Social care funding overhaul faces axe

Social care funding overhaul faces axe

The Tory Manifesto proposals for social care would be a disaster and are now never likely to be implemented, according to two former pension ministers.

Former pensions minister Ros Altmann has claimed the Conservative party manifesto cost Theresa May the election, and therefore social care proposals contained in the Conservative party manifesto that alienated core voters are now set to be axed.

While Mrs May remains prime minister following Thursday’s general election, no party won a majority in parliament as the Conservatives lost seats in England and Wales to Labour and the Liberal Democrats, despite seeing their vote share increase.

Baroness Altmann said: “The Tory Manifesto was a turning point in the election campaign. To say the policy announcements on pensions and care were badly thought through would be an understatement. They don't really seem to have been thought through at all.

“The combination of means-testing Winter Fuel Payments for pensioners, with the draconian social care changes, suddenly saw the Tories' traditional support among older voters waver.

“Mass means-testing of pensioners has already been discredited due to the disincentives it poses to private pension saving. 

“To extend means-testing in this arbitrary manner, without consultation and without proper understanding of how the policy would impact on pensioners, was a mistake of monumental proportions. 

“To combine the two, looked like a punishment to families with loved ones who were ill, not just to older people.

“This policy proposal is not only politically poisonous, because it hits the very people who are most likely to vote Tory - those who own their own home, or who have built up a nest-egg or some assets to pass on to their loved ones; it also would not solve the social care crisis anyway. 

“All the political pain, for no policy gain. To suggest that the cost of social care could be met by means-testing Winter Fuel Payments is fantasy. And almost immediately, the Scottish Tories announced that all pensioners in Scotland would still get the money, so this was clearly not going to work.”

Legislation was passed in 2014, with cross-party consensus, for a £72,000 cap on lifetime spending on 'eligible care needs' for home care or care home costs. 

This did not include the costs of board and lodging, which would be up to an extra £12,000 a year.

The legislation also increased the means-test threshold from £23,250 up to £118,000 of savings. 

At the moment, if you have more than £23,250 of savings or assets, you fund all of your own social care. 

Crucially, though, the value of your home was not taken into account in the means-test if you received home care or if you were in a care home but still had a relative living in your house. 

Instead of a £118,000 means-test floor, the Tories proposed cutting this to £100,000 and this was to include the value of your home in all circumstances.