The government is delaying its policy to cap social care costs under the Care Act 2014 until April 2020, breaking a key Tory manifesto pledge.
In a letter to the head of the Local Government Association, Alistair Birt, minister of state for community and social care, announced that a cap on care costs would not be introduced until April 2020.
The cap was originally scheduled for 1 April 2016, as part of the second phase of provisions under the Care Act 2014 (CA 2014). The first phase followed the coming into force of part I of the CA 2014 on 1 April 2015.
The delay in implementation followed fears voiced by local authorities about the potential cost of the cap on top of an existing shortfall in the funding of adult social care.
The minister indicated that the cap would have been too expensive to introduce in 2016, especially given that the private insurance market had not developed products as expected to help individuals fund the initial £72,000 as they progressed towards the cap.
Two further reforms have also been delayed.
The introduction of the duty on local authorities under section 18(3) of the CA 2014 to meet the eligible needs of self-funders in care homes has been delayed until April 2020, following concerns raised in responses to the Department of Health consultation in February 2015 about how this measure would work in practice.
Also postponed is the introduction of an appeals system to deal with complaints about decisions made by local authorities on individuals’ care and support. This will be considered as part of the government’s general spending review.
Welsh reforms to adult social care, which were due to be introduced in April 2016, have also been postponed.
For background information on the first stage of implementation of the CA 2014, and on funding long-term care in England, see the Care Act Manual, published by Thomson Reuters. Thomson Reuters will offer members of the Private Client Section a 15% discount on the upcoming second edition, which is due to be published in September. The second edition will include all the recent updates since the act was introduced and will cover the code of practice. To receive your discount, please quote code 2071401A when you order (tinyurl.com/pbpbsvb).