18 May 2017

Care bills could eat up half the value of family homes under 'regional lottery' conservative proposals - Steve Webb, Royal London

4 min read

 
Steve Webb - Director of Policy

Steve Webb

Director of Policy, Royal London

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Changes to rules on social care announced in the Conservative manifesto mean more families will see their family home put at risk from huge costs for long-term care, according to Steve Webb, Director of Policy at Royal London. 

Families in areas with higher house prices such as London and the South East of England could face bills of at least two thirds of the value of their home before the government steps in to help.

The key points are:

  • Currently, when those who receive care in their own home are subject to a means-test, the value of their home is ignored; under Conservative plans, the value of the home would be included for the first time;
  • Although the Government will provide free care for those with less than £100,000 of assets, including the value of their home, most homes are worth much more than this; the table shows average house prices around the UK (except in Scotland where different rules apply) and the amount that families would have to pay before the government stepped in;
  • Across England as a whole, more than half the value of a family home would have to be spent before the Government stepped in; for those in London, nearly four fifths of the value of a home could go in care costs before free care became available.

Commenting, Steve Webb, Director of Policy at Royal London, said:

If these changes are implemented, more families will be at risk of seeing a large part of the value of their home wiped out by care costs later in life. Without an overall cap on care costs, those who need care for a long period of time could see more than half the value of their home taken by care bills. Paying for care looks set to become a regional lottery.

Nation/Region

Average House Price
(Mar 17)

Potential Care Bill
(before govt. cap applies)

% of value of family home
taken up in care costs

England

Of which:

£232,530 £132,530 57%
North West £150,250 £50,250 33%
North East £122,298 £22,298 18%
East Midlands £176,213 £76,213 43%
London £471,742 £371,742 79%
South East £311,514 £211,514 68%
Yorkshire £149,606 £49,606

33%

East of England

£277,127

£177,127 64%
South West £240,222 £140,222 58%
West Midlands £180,293 £80,293 45%
Wales £147,746 £47,746 32%
N Ireland £124,007 £24,007 19%

The Conservative manifesto also includes plans to means-test winter fuel payments. Steve Webb continued:

Means-testing the winter fuel payment could be very messy. There is a risk of creating a cliff-edge where pensioners who have income a few pounds above a cut-off point could lose all their winter fuel payment. If there is concern about better off individuals receiving winter fuel payments it would be much simpler to add the payment to the state pension, which is already subject to income tax. Means-testing risks penalising those who have put money aside for later life by cutting their access to benefits.

- ENDS -

For further information please contact:

Steve Webb, Director of Policy, Royal London

About Royal London:

Royal London is the largest mutual life, pensions and investment company in the UK, with funds under management of £117 billion, 8.8 million policies in force and 3,745 employees. Figures quoted are as at 30 June 2018.