Social care costs likely to be capped
The cost of social care will be capped at £75,000, the government is expected to announce today.
In a series of wide-ranging reforms on how care for the elderly is funded, Jeremy Hunt, the health secretary, is also expected to increase the means-tested support threshold from £23,250 to £123,000.
The proposals, which are a response to the a review by economist Andrew Dilnot, will stop people from having to sell their home to pay for care, Hunt told the BBC.
He added that 10% of people currently spend more than £100,000 on care.
Moving in the right direction
Ros Altmann, director-general of Saga, said: "At last, it seems that we are going to move in the right direction to help people understand how social care works and what their responsibility will be."
However, the £75,000 cap is much higher than the £25,000 to £50,000 limit recommended by the Dilnot review.
Michelle Mitchell, director general of Age UK, said she was disappointed the cap had been set so high.
"However, the most important test will be how much difference these proposals make to older people's lives and we don't yet have enough detail to know this for sure," she said.
Sally Greengross, chief executive of the International Longevity Centre, a think tank on social demographics, said spending on long-term care is projected to rise by £14 billion by 2061.
"The announcement will help individuals and families who are currently hit hardest by the ever-growing cost of care," she said.
"Yet social care is in crisis today and too many people get inadequate care and support. The problem isn't just a long-term one - for the sake of today's care recipients, we must also work to address the current crisis."
The reforms are expected to be funded by freezing the inheritance tax threshold at £325,000 until 2019. It has been the same since 2009.
The tax levied on the total value of your estate after you die. IHT has to be paid by the beneficiaries of your estate before they can receive any of the money from it. The money can’t be taken from the value of the estate _– it has to be paid before any money can be released. There is an IHT threshold – known as the “nil-rate band” – below which no tax is levied (£325,000 in 2011/12). Any amount above the nil-rate band is subject to tax at 40%. If your estate totals £600,000, there is no tax on the first £325,000; however your estate will pay 40% tax on the remaining £275,000, a total of £110,000. Prudent tax planning can reduce your IHT liability, so always consult a specialist solicitor.