A proposed £100,000 cap on care costs would benefit just one in 20 people, Independent Age has warned.
The older people’s charity has written to the Chancellor the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, stating the cap on care costs would represent poor value for the taxpayer and advocated free personal care as a more effective alternative.
George McNamara, Director of Policy and Influencing at Independent Age, said: “A care cap will be expensive for Government, yet at the level being considered will do virtually nothing to protect against high costs of residential care. The reality is you are more likely to die than benefit from a £100,000 care cap.
“If the Government is seeking to raise taxes to fund this policy then the least they can do is ensure that those paying more will benefit, but the care cap fails to do this.
“For a similar cost, however, the Government could introduce free personal care for older people. This policy is not only extremely popular with the public, but one that people are willing to pay more in tax to receive, and would start to deliver the transformation in social care that is desperately needed.”
The research undertaken by Grant Thornton UK found a care cap of £100,000 would mean an individual would need to spend eight and a half years in care before their costs were capped, with the average length stay being less than 22 months.
Alternatively, a care cap of £72,000, as proposed at the last General Election, would only benefit those very few people spending six years or more in a care home.
Independent Age said the proposed care cap failed to address the potential of “catastrophic costs” to the individual as it did not include accommodation and living, which can amount to more than 60% of the total cost of care.
The charity added the 5% (20,000) of people who would benefit from the £100,000 cap would still face weekly costs of £400 a week over an eight-year period and beyond.
Independent Age’s argument contrasts a statement by Sir Andrew Dilnot has said ministers have a “moral duty” to introduce a cap on elderly care costs.