Proposed social care reforms: when is a “clarification” a U-turn?

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“Nothing has changed, nothing has changed!”

This was the cry from Teresa May who has clarified her plans for reforms to social care, which were set out in the Conservative Party manifesto last week.

Our previous blog post covers the proposed changes, and now, in light of strong opposition to the proposals, Teresa May has said that the Government will introduce “an absolute limit on the amount people have to pay for their care costs”.

Unfortunately it appears that the value of people’s homes will still be factored in for all types of social care (that is, both care at home and care in a care home). This is still a significant departure from the current rules which ignore the value of someone’s home when assessing the contribution to care in your own home.

Teresa May added that the Conservatives, if re-elected, “will come forward with a consultation paper” to set out the detail of the new system. Such Government consultation papers often take a considerable period of time to prepare, and even then might never be implemented.

For example, David Cameron’s flagship Care Act 2014 introduced the concept of a care cap, and was due to be introduced in 2016 but was delayed until 2020, with every possibility now of never being implemented.

The “care cap” to be introduced by the Care Act 2014 was to be welcomed, but itself was littered with disadvantages, as shown in our guide to care home fees.

In short, there is a long way to go before any potential changes to charging for social care are in effect.