In a debate, peers dubbed the cap in its current state “divisive” and “regressive”. Baroness Wheller described the cap as “a last-minute, hastily scraped together, ill-thought-through mishmash of subsections added to an essentially NHS Bill”.
She added, “Despite the pledge that nobody should have to sell their homes, the fact is that someone with assets of £100,000 will lose almost everything, whereas someone with assets worth £1mn and over will keep almost everything,” said Wheeler.
A few months after the cap was announced, the government said any care funded through the means tested system would not count towards the cap.
“The bombshell of preventing local authority care costs to count and accrue towards the cap means that poorer people will be exposed to the same care costs as the very wealthiest in society,” said Wheeler.
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said its social care charging reform proposals “strike the right balance” between public contributions and people’s personal responsibility for planning for their care.
Wheeler was not the only peer to speak out against the inclusion of the cap. Baroness Brinton, former president of the Liberal Democrats, said the cap “was not widely consulted on” and “is a deeply unfair element” of the government’s new social care reform.
The rebellion by the Lords is likely to be short-lived and once the Health and Care Bill goes back to the Commons, it is very likely MPs will seek to overturn this decision, although some MPs are expected to put up a fight.