The Prime Minister has been warned by her health secretary, Matt Hancock, that plans for a £100,000 care cap will cost billions and lead to significant tax rises.
Hancock told Theresa May in a leaked letter seen by The Telegraph that he is “concerned” that the cap – which he says could cost up to £3.4billion – is being included in the Social Care Green Paper, due to be published within weeks.
The cap would see people pay a maximum of £100,000 for their care over their lifetime, excluding the cost of accommodation.
Ahead of the publication of the green paper, which has been delayed several times and is due to be published by April, Hancock apparently warned that any plan to re-introduce the cap would “confer a significant benefit to the well-off at the expense of the general taxpayer”.
It is understood that Hancock would prefer a new system of insurance to fund care for older people which could operate in a similar way to the auto-enrollment pension scheme.
He also called for the green player to include plans for a compulsory premium deducted from the earnings of the middle-aged and over 65s to fund the cost of their care in older life.
Reacting to the letter sent to Theresa May, Sally Copley, director of Policy and Campaigns at Alzheimer’s Society, said: “A £100k cap on costs is not a solution to the social care crisis we are facing; our calculations show even a lower cap of £80k would at most only help 5% of people with dementia.
“Through our Fix Dementia Care campaign we hear from families who can’t begin to cover the catastrophic social care fees – others are cutting back on essentials like food and heating or selling their homes.
“What’s urgently needed is an NHS Dementia Fund, to cover the extra costs people are charged for their specialist care, while the Government plans bold reform and significant investment for a proper long term solution to protect and support people.
“Someone in the UK develops dementia every three minutes, and every day we wait for the long overdue Green Paper is another day that these people are enduring injustice.”