Warning over Chancellor's social care plans

Posted on 22 March 2013

The country's "care crisis" will not be fixed by the Budget's social care reforms, according to a leading incapacity charity.

Scope said disabled people have no place in Chancellor George Osborne's plans for the "aspiration nation" he outlined in his Budget speech on Wednesday.

Mr Osborne repeated proposals to accelerate the introduction of a cap of social care costs and announced plans to extend the means test for residential care costs from April 2016.

The ceiling on care costs, initially planned to be set at £75,000 in 2017, will now be fixed at £72,000 a year earlier.

The Chancellor said that the cap will give "peace of mind" to those wanting to plan for their old age and leave savings to their children.

He said "helping with aspiration" should aid those not wanting to sell their own homes to finance the cost of their long-term social care.

The cap will be set to safeguard savings over £72,000 in 2016, the year which will also see the residential care means test threshold raised from just over £23,000 to £118,000.

Mr Osborne's Budget document says that the plans should help 100,000 more people who would not get any support under the system now.

Richard Hawkes, chief executive of the disability charity Scope, said that neither the £72,000 cap on costs nor £118,000 means test will sort out the care crisis for disabled people.

He said disabled people want to live independently and pay for essentials without claiming benefits, but the help they need to get up, dressed and out and about is being marginalised by severe under-funding of social care.

They are struggling to balance their finances this year, he said, as life costs more if you are disabled.

Mr Hawkes added: "There's no place for disabled people in the Chancellor's aspiration nation. Surely an aspiration nation should be a place where disabled people can pay the bills and live independently?"

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