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Care costs cap to be announced
A cap on social care costs for the elderly is to be announced by ministers on Monday amid expectations that it will be much higher than the £35,000 figure mooted by an independent review.
There have been widespread reports that Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has settled on £75,000 as the amount of money people will be expected to pay for care before the state steps in.
There have also been suggestions that it could be lower, at about £60,000 but uprated with inflation. The Department of Health said the reports were "speculation".
Campaigners have warned that £75,000 would be too high and would mean many people would still have to sell their homes to pay for care.
The Dilnot Commission recommended a cap of between £35,000 and £50,000, although Chancellor George Osborne is thought to have dismissed the possibility of that range on cost grounds.
The cap could come in as early as 2017.
In an interview with The Daily Telegraph, Mr Hunt said: "The debate has been focussed a lot on the level of the cap, but just having a cap means that pension companies and insurance companies will be able to offer products.
"That means we become probably one of the first countries in the world where people save for their social care just as they save for their pension. In many cases, it will just be an addition to your pension policy."
But Stephen Burke, director of United for All Ages which has been calling for a lower cap, said: "When families realise what is being proposed, they will be in for a rude shock. The Government is sneakily shifting the cost of care further and further onto older people and their families. The £75k cap is the dampest of damp squibs. It is a con of the worst sorts.
"There are fairer and better alternatives. The Government for example could have raised the capital threshold for paying for care to £200,000 or higher. The failure by this Government to meet the care challenge means that the next government will have to sort this out to meet the care needs of our ageing population."