Tory abandonment of cap on care costs is a betrayal of older people

As minister in the Coalition Government, Norman Lamb introduced a cap on care costs to protect older people against catastrophic costs experienced when someone ends up with a condition like dementia. Theresa May's response to this: oh let's tax it!

Within weeks of winning the election in 2015, the Conservatives announced that they were postponing the introduction of the cap, despite committing to it in their manifesto. While Norman said at the time that this amounted to an abandonment, the Government insisted that the cap would be implemented in 2020.

The 2017 Conservative Manifesto confirms that the cap has been abandoned. 

Renowned economist Andrew Dilnot, who chaired the long-term care commission that originally proposed the cap, said that the Conservatives’ plan to make homeowners pay more for their care will leave “many people worse off” and “completely on their own” to deal with care costs.

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The conservative think tank Bow Group Chairman Ben Harris-Quinney said:

"These proposals will mean that the majority of property owning citizens could be transferring the bulk of their assets to the government upon death for care they have already paid a lifetime of taxes to receive.

"These proposals will mean that the majority of property owning citizens could be transferring the bulk of their assets to the government upon death for care they have already paid a lifetime of taxes to receive. It is likely to represent the biggest stealth tax in history.

"It is a tax on death and on inheritance. It will mean that in the end, the government will have taken the lions share of a lifetime earnings in taxes. If enacted, it is likely to represent the biggest stealth tax in history and when people understand that they will be leaving most of their estate to the government, rather than their families, the Conservative Party will experience a dramatic loss of support."

Norman Lamb, who pushed through the Care Act (2014) which included Dilnot’s proposed reforms to the care system, commented:

"This is an outrageous betrayal of people who work hard all their lives, end up with a condition like dementia and will now be saddled with catastrophic costs to pay for their care.

"The Conservatives claimed they had merely delayed the cap on care costs, now they have abandoned it. It is completely shameful.

“We could have made such a difference to people’s lives, allowing them to plan for old age with the knowledge that the cap on care costs would have protected them. Now, it is gone for good. That’s what happens with the Conservatives without any opposition or without controls over power.

A sign of a progressive society is how you look after your most vulnerable, not how you protect your rich, the dementia tax is heartless.

We are calling on Theresa May to drop her dementia tax plan – you can join the fight here dementiatax.org.uk.