politics

Tory 'stealth' social care change set to hammer north but barely affect south


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Figures suggest homeowners in two thirds of northern areas hit with higher costs for their care – while constituencies in London and the South East are largely unaffected

A “stealth” change to social care reform will mean two thirds of poorer Northern homeowners pay more towards their care.

Meanwhile London and the South East will feel no impact, according to analysis by the Labour party.

The change, sneaked out on Wednesday during the Labour debate on Tory corruption, means subsidised care will not count towards the lifetime of maximum £86,000.

Labour says homeowners with high care needs but property worth less than £186,000 will be hit with higher costs, while those with homes worth more than that will be unaffected.

Economist Sir Andrew Dilnot – the architect of social care reform who proposed a cap on what people pay towards care in a 2011 report – said he was “very disappointed” with the Government’s stealthy change in the small print.

Ten years ago, Sir Andrew conducted a major review for the government into ways to improve the care sector.

The report laid out the blueprint for how the cap should work – but under Sir Andrew’s recommendations, the cap would take into account subsidies from local authorities.

He argued this would ensure poorer people would contribute less overall, rather than just taking longer to reach the limit.








Six in ten elderly people will be worse off because of the changes
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Image:

Getty Images)



He says the changes mean the hundreds of millions it will save on care will be made “exclusively” from poorer families. Labour says the average home is valued at less than £186,000 in 107 constituencies in the North of England, compared to none in London and the South East.

Some six in ten elderly care users across the country are set to lose out from the changes announced on Wednesday.

Constituencies likely to be hit hardest include Workington (average home value £160,000), Barrow-in-Furness (£155,000), Don Valley (£155,000), Redcar (£133,000) and Bishop Auckland (£125,000). Homeowners in the North East will be particularly badly affected, with average prices under £186,000 in nearly 90% of constituencies.

It’s a further blow to the area after HS2’s eastern leg was scrapped.





On Thursday, Downing Street – which says it is committed to levelling up the North – defended its new system as being “fair and responsible”.

It said: “As Dilnot acknowledges, our approach is… much more generous than what’s currently in place.” .”

In fact Sir Andrew was “very disappointed” by a policy that “finds savings exclusively from the less well off.”

Overall 60% of the elderly countrywide will be poorer, he found.

Liz Kendall, Shadow Minister for Social Care, said: “The Tories are imposing a punishing tax hike on ordinary people that does nothing to ensure more get the care they need.

“Instead their plans for social care have been exposed as a con that only protects the homes of the wealthiest.

“Now we know even fewer people with low and modest assets will be protected from having to sell their homes to pay for their care.”


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