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Sunday, July 26, 2015

Tory u-turn on social care costs - another Liberal Democrats initiative ditched

The decision by Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt to shelve until 2020 the coalition government's commitment to cap care bills to £72,000 for the over-65s and for younger adults with disabilities is not just a broken Tory manifesto promise but also another Liberal Democrat initiative they have ditched.

This was an important policy promoted by Liberal Democrat ministers to prevent old people having to sell their home to pay care bills. Those families who were relying on this change are going to be very disappointed. What is more, as this Guardian article makes clear, the proposed delay is going to cost the government a lot of money:

Experts say huge sums of public money have been wasted on fees for employing the top advertising agency Saatchi & Saatchi to promote the policy, the development of IT systems to run it, and the cost of running public consultations.

James Lloyd, director of the Strategic Society Centre thinktank, said: “I would estimate the ‘capped cost’ reforms have cost the taxpayer between £50m-£100m to date.

“This is a lot of money at a time that councils are cutting support packages for the most vulnerable members of their communities. And it is a lot of money when the problems associated with the reforms were readily apparent back in July 2011.

“Up and down England, 152 local authorities have been training frontline staff and managers in relation to the reforms and developing IT systems."

So far the Tories have abandoned much of the green agenda by cutting funding to the green deal and subsidies for on-shore wind farms, postponed the introduction of subsidised childcare, targeted families and those in work with £12 billion of welfare cuts and broken clear promises on care costs.

If those reversals of policy do not underline the importance of the Liberal Democrats in the previous coalition government in keeping the Tories honest and promoting important social reforms then nothing will.
When you combine this with the huge cut in inheritance tax, the Tories are really penalising those who need care at the end of their life compared to those who do not

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