The Tories’ care costs U-turn will hit England’s poorest pensioners with “catastrophe”, the architect of the original changes has warned.
Sir Andrew Dilnot, who drew up plans for a care cap several years ago, said changes to his plan will hit those with fewer assets hard.
It comes as Tory MPs prepare to stage a revolt tonight over the changes, which were announced last week to save the government £900m a year.
Branded an “inheritance tax on the north”, the changes will make it harder for poorer people to reach an £86,000 cap on lifetime care costs.
That is because for those who get state funding – when they have less than £100k in assets – only the amount they actually pay themselves will count towards the £86,000 cap.
Originally, the system would have been more generous and counted the state help they get as well, so they’re not waiting several years to reach the cap.
Health Secretary Sajid Javid speaks to residents Doreen and Janet during a visit to Westport Care Home in London
Sir Andrew told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme his original plans – which most people assumed would happen until last week – would have given those people “much more protection”.
“For those with assets of less than £100,000 we’re not tackling catastrophic costs,” he said. “We’re not tackling catastrophic costs for the less well-off, but we are for the better off.”
For those with less than £100k in assets, they will simply spend down to their last £20,000 instead of their last £14,250 as now, he said, due to a change in the “asset floor”.
He said: “I don’t think it addresses the catastrophic costs for less well-off people.
“Less well off people, still if this amendment is passed, would face real catastrophe if they were one of the minority who face very large care costs.”
The plan “doesn’t seem very progressive”, Sir Andrew added.
The cap was announced in September as part of Boris Johnson ’s long-awaited social care plan for England.
People will not have to pay more than £86,000 for care over their lifetime, regardless of wealth.
This cap will apply to care payments made after October 2023, so the first residents will hit the cap in around Autumn 2025.
At the same time, more people will be eligible for state help to fund care.
From October 2023, you’ll get some state funding if you have less than £100,000 in assets, and full state funding if you have less than £20,000.
Currently, you pay for all your care until your assets drop to £23,250, and some of it until they drop to £14,250. There is currently no cap.
The changes are being funded through a £12bn-a-year National Insurance hike. But just £5.4bn across the first three years is going on care with the rest going on the NHS .