There was anger this week after it emerged that a former promise to introduce a cap on care home fees by 2020 has apparently been dropped.
Former Prime Minister David Cameron had previously pledged to introduce a cap of around £75,000 on the amount that Britons would have to pay to cover the costs of their own care.
His commitment came following growing concerns about the spiralling costs involved.
But this week, following several months of controversy over proposals to reform social care, a senior Government source said that the cap – originally set to be introduced by the turn of the decade – was now unlikely to see the light of the day until well into the 2020s.
Baroness Altmann, a former Pensions Minister, told The Daily Mail that she was “shocked” at the decision to abandon the original timetable.
“Delaying the cap again just seems to be unjust,” she said. “This is a real crisis. The Government has got to take some action to protect families from the unfairness of the care lottery.”
The original idea of a cap was first included in a report prepared by the respected economist Andrew Dilnot in 2011, and four years on Mr Cameron had included it in his General Election manifesto. At that stage it was envisaged it would take effect in 2016.
However, the implementation date was later pushed back when it became clear that the care sector was not ready to implement the changes.
While Mr Cameron’s successor, Theresa May, has confirmed there will be a consultation on options for reforming social care, the Government has refused to be drawn on whether its revised timetable would be adhered to and this week there were several press reports which indicated that the 2020 target had indeed been kicked into the long grass.
Priti Shah, Private Client Partner at OGR Stock Denton, said: “A carefully drafted will which provides asset protection will reduce the risk of a deceased’s spouse’s estate being used up by care home fees for the surviving spouse.”