Following concerns over the cost of implementation, the government has delayed the cap on social care costs until April 2020.
Due to be introduced in the second phase of the Care Act in April next year, social care costs were to be limited to £72,000 for the over 65s and young adults with disabilities.
Care Minister Alistair Burt’s letter to the Local Government Association made it clear that it was not the right to introduce the reforms that would cost £6bn over a period of five years during consolidation in public spending.
Many local authorities have understandably been in support of the postponement. There have, after all, been a number of issues, especially with how the cap is accounted for. There was also a very real prospect that in the short to medium term, councils would have been required to spend more on care without being given additional funding.
With the government also estimating that up to 460,000 people could come forward to have their care spending assessed to immediately start progressing towards the cap, it’s clear to see why the cap has been delayed.
The forthcoming enhanced National Living Wage has also played a part in the decision, since social care budgets will be significantly affected by its introduction.
Cllr Izzi Seccombe, Chair of the Local Government Association’s community wellbeing board, summed up the decision, by saying “we have supported the need for reform to the way people pay for their care…but we have to be realistic about where scarce resources are needed most.”