Alzheimer’s Society is today warning that up to 87% of people living with dementia in the North East would not benefit from the government’s proposed £86,000 social care cap due to the removal of protections for the less wealthy.
The charity welcomes the introduction of a cap on care costs from 2023 as a significant step towards supporting people to pay for their care but says that, according to new research commissioned from the New Economics Foundation, the current cap proposed in the Health and Care Bill will only be reached by just over one eighth of people living with dementia in the North East
The research also found that the wealthiest people with dementia are set to benefit most under the current proposals, while regional inequalities mean those living in the North and Midlands are less likely to reach the cap compared to other regions1.
Supporting the Lords Amendment
The charity is supporting an amendment to the Health and Care Bill being laid in the House of Lords this week, which would see local authority funding count towards the £86,000 figure, meaning more people with dementia who have fewer assets would benefit.
Judith King, Head of Service at Alzheimer’s Society, said:
“People with dementia are the largest users of social care and many have faced crippling costs just to be able to live their lives with safety and dignity. The cap on care costs is a huge step forward for the 39,000 people living with dementia in the North East, but the government must now take this moment to get the details right and ensure that it’s fair and equitable for all.
“Right now, the government’s proposals would benefit the wealthiest most and financially punish people with dementia who are less well off, particularly those outside of the South East. This is not levelling up, but further deepening regional inequalities and hitting the most vulnerable people hardest.”
“The proposed cap on care costs would only benefit just one eighth of people with dementia in the North East, so we urge the government to remove Clause 155 from the Health and Care Bill, ensuring that local authority means-tested funding counts towards people’s cap on care costs. This will be a significant step towards ensuring the least wealthy people who are living with dementia are protected from disproportionate and catastrophic care costs”.
Research by the New Economics Foundation
Research conducted by the New Economics Foundation, commissioned by Alzheimer’s Society, shows that under the government’s current proposals, just 21 per cent of people with dementia entering care in England would reach the cap1, at which point the state would step in to cover payments. The study found that were the government to instead implement the ‘Dilnot model’ – first proposed by Sir Andrew Dilnot in 2011, 54 per cent of people living with dementia would reach the cap.
Alzheimer’s Society believes that the arrangements for the government’s £86,000 cap will see people living with dementia with the lower levels of wealth benefitting the least, as they are less likely to reach the cap, compared to those who are better off4. Under the proposed cap, the wealthiest fifth of people England with dementia would see their average spend on care reduce by 26%, while the least wealthy would see a drop of just 14%5.
The proposals also exacerbate regional inequalities, due to house prices and levels of assets, with people living with dementia in the North East and North West worst off, and those in the South East and South West benefiting most.
Under government’s current proposals, which excludes local authority support, it would take those living with dementia in the North East with fewer assets much longer to reach the cap, with many never reaching the cap.
Dropping Clause 155 from the Bill would ensure more people with fewer assets are protected and would be supported in reaching the cap quicker – significantly helping people living with dementia in the North East.
You can join Alzheimer’s Society’s campaign to ensure people affected by dementia get the quality care and support they need and deserve here.