social-care-funding-reform”>Our new report with The Health Foundation suggests that it may be time for England to think again. While the cost of implementing the policy would be high, it is only slightly more expensive than the ‘cap and floor’ social care reform proposed by the Conservatives at the last general election. Yet the difference between the two is significant, marking a ‘fork in the road’ on the way to reform. One route – free personal care – moves us towards Scotland: a social care system that is more like the NHS, free for those who need it. The other – the ‘cap and floor’– retains the English, means-tested system for social care.
The ‘cap-and-floor’ model does have some advantages. Unlike free personal care, it directly tackles the issue of the ‘catastrophic’ costs that some people face by ‘capping’ the lifetime costs you might face (though the Conservatives never stated a figure, we assumed this would be £75,000, similar to the level set, but not implemented, in the 2014 Care Act). And it raises the ‘floor’ – the value of assets you can hold and still qualify for state support – from £23,250 to £100,000. But it also has serious, well, flaws. It is extremely complex and difficult to explain. And the value of your house would be counted towards that £100,000 ‘floor’, even for care in your own home (currently it is only counted if you need to move into a care home). Since even a two-bed bungalow in Cornhill-on-Tweed is worth £100,000, that would almost certainly mean you would still have to pay for that help to get dressed. Welcome (back) to England.