Social care costs

As the political row intensifies over government plans for a “cap” on individual social care costs, the Commons Committee on Health and Social Care said that the proposed National Insurance hike would provide “insufficient funding” for social care over the next three years.

The committee’s verdict follows an inquiry which heard evidence that 200,000 people with moderate and severe dementia do not currently get any funded or professional support. It urged the government to rethink its plans by increasing social care funding by £7 million annually “as a starting point”, compared with the proposed £1.8 billion.

“People with dementia face catastrophic costs for social care but even though the new levy [on National Insurance] is welcome, their families will continue to remain unprotected until 2023 at the earliest,” said committee chair Jeremy Hunt.

“Fundamental reform of the social care system must be tackled by the government in its promised White Paper and until we see warm words turned into action, families living with dementia will continue to face an unbearable situation.”

There was widespread anger when the government announced last week that local authority contributions to individuals’ means-tested payments for care will not count towards the cap.

Alzheimer’s Society said the cap was still “worryingly high” with only one in five people with dementia estimated ever to reach the £86,000 limit.  “Any progress here feels like two steps forwards, one step back – social care is sadly still an afterthought, playing second fiddle to our NHS,” said James White, the Society’s head of public affairs and campaigns.