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PM Pledge To End Heartbreak Of Elderly Forced To Sell Homes To Pay For Care

PM Pledge To End Heartbreak Of Elderly Forced To Sell Homes To Pay For Care

Prime Minister David Cameron is set to help tens of thousands of elderly people who are forced to sell their homes to fund long-term care.

Reports suggest that he will implement recommendations that cap the amount individuals pay at £35,000 – with the taxpayer picking up any further bills.

According to The Daily Mail, Mr Cameron has already told Nick Clegg and senior Tories that he will find the £1.7billion annual costs of the plan in the next public spending review.

Last month Health Secretary Andrew Lansley announced that the Dilnot proposals were being put on ice after the Treasury said they were unaffordable.

But according to the  Mail that Mr Cameron has had a dramatic change of heart and is determined to press ahead with the plans.

The Prime Minister and Mr Clegg both want to announce this autumn that they will implement the Dilnot recommendations in order to put the Coalition back on track.

They plan to insert the pledge to enforce the proposals in 2017 into the Government’s Care and Support Bill.

They see it as a key legacy project for the Government that will show the two parties working together to solve a major problem that affects millions.

At the moment anyone with assets over £23,250 has to bear the cost of their own care. Last year more than 24,500 people had to sell their homes to pay the bills – a rise of 20 per cent in a decade.

Under the proposals drawn up by economist Andrew Dilnot, the cap would be set at £35,000, after which the Government would pick up the tab.

The initial £35,000 could be funded by an insurance policy taken out by people while they are still working.

He also recommended that the £23,250 means test threshold should go up to £100,000. 
It is understood the Coalition will also honour this proposal. In addition to the Dilnot proposals, which primarily benefit pensioners with large homes, Lib Dems are also trying to win Tory support for moves to do more to help the poorest pensioners who have few assets.

Ministers have considered raising the £35,000 threshold in order to reduce the costs of the Dilnot plan.

But officials say that the Coalition is minded to implement the proposals in full since they command the support of charities and other care pressure groups.

Such a move would also make it more difficult for Labour to object, since they have also called for a deal.

By delaying the implementation of the plans until 2017, the Chancellor will not have to find the extra cash until the spending review in 2014.

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