Well well. The morning mist is beginning to rise and the penny beginning to drop that very few people are going to benefit from the Care Bill and the new proposed social care arrangements.
The widely publicised government U-turn on selling your house to pay for care was no such thing. The proposal has always been:
There will be a duty to offer a deferred payment to anyone who:
- needs residential care and no spouse or dependent lives in their home;
- is assessed by the local authority as needing residential care; and
- has less than £23,250 in savings (i.e. non-housing assets).
I would strongly suggest that anyone who has relied on newspaper headlines to plan for their old age, should pick up a copy of the Bill and the accompanying Consultation paper published in July 2013 and gets to grips with the detail. The headlines talk of 1 in 8 benefiting; I am afraid my suspicion is that even this is optimistic.
So what are the next headlines? That there is a set up fee for a universal deferred payment? Interest is payable at probably 4%? The financial services industry sees no prospect of care planning products hitting the market? We shall see.
The accompanying regulations will be published over the coming months and we will see more detail as to how few will be helped, or about how little will count against your care account. The arguments that have plagued the provision of NHS Continuing Care will be back in force. I am afraid these headlines have a long way to run.