One of the fears many people have when getting older is the cost of care. It is often the case that people who have worked hard all their lives end up having to sell everything they own in order to pay for the cost of social care in old age. The Queen’s speech contains a care bill that aims to simplify and modernize the framework for care and support. Most importantly it will implement a cap on car costs that people will spend in their lifetime.
These historic reforms will give everyone more certainty and peace of mind over the cost of old age. They will ensure everyone will get the care they need and we are ending the unfairness of, and fear caused by, unlimited care costs. When in power Labour spent 13 years of kicking this problem into touch. They failed to achieve any real progress on a complex and challenging issue facing our aging society. Liberal Democrats have fought hard to ensure that this does not get kicked into the long grass again, because we recognize how important the reforms are for people. This is a real Lib Dem win.
From April 2016 we are implementing a cap of £72,000 on the amount people will have to pay for care in their lifetime. In addition the threshold for means testing is being raised from £23,250 to £118,000. This increase means that people will get state support far earlier then they do now. It means a system that will help not only the very poorest, but also people who have worked hard all their life to save.
This is about fairness. None of us knows if we will be the one person in ten who is hit with the catastrophic costs of long-term care. The cap will protect everyone against that risk.