Depending on particular circumstances, they will generally not save the majority of those getting financial support for home care or residential care fees any money.
All that is really being offered in the manfiesto is an increase in the amount that people must pay towards the cost of being looked after. This will be done by changing the way everyone is assessed. Currently, where a person is in a care home, their property is taken into account for the purpose of fees unless the property is disregarded because a spouse lives in that home.
For home care, property is not taken into account for the purpose of assessing contributions that must be paid towards support. The Prime Minister is proposing that in future it should be. Mrs May is also proposing that the everyone should be able to retain £100,000 of their own money before paying for their care.
This is currently only £14,250 so represents a welcome change. However, it will be interesting to see how this £100,000 is calculated. Government is rarely generous, so we should brace for it either being rescinded or postponed due to some unforseen ‘budgetary constraint’. It may also end up conditional on some skewed point to ensure that most people fail to qualify.
The Prime Minister underpins her changes by firmly stating that no-one should have to sell their home to pay for care. But in fact nobody does anyway. Local authorities currently offer what is called a Deferred Payment Agreement (DPA). This allows care fees to be secured against your property and only realised once that property is sold.
This can be on the death of the individual, or sooner. So, what the Conservatives are offering is something already available, albeit with a sting: the kind offer of the DPA is subject to interest. But still a Party trick.