"From April this year, no one will have to sell their home to fund care.
Those unable to afford fees will get the right to defer paying."
That's the Coalition's promise to the elderly as made in today's Sun and in other Sunday newspapers. Health secretary Jeremy Hunt will formally announce tomorrow that, from 2017, the elderly will have to pay a maximum of £75,000 towards their care costs before the taxpayer starts to help them.
The aim is that the £75,000 cap - double the amount recommended by Andrew Dilnot's Commission - will strike the right balance between supporting those who've saved, without imposing heavy new taxes on working families.
One of the ways in which the Coalition will fund a reform which is expected to cost £1 billion reform is a further three year freeze in inheritance tax thresholds. This second three year freeze - following one already introduced by Alistair Darling - will raise about another £200 million per year for Treasury coffers.
The reform is likely to be popular with voters. A YouGov survey for The Sunday Times (PDF) finds that 73% of people support a cap on the amount that people contribute towards the cost of care. Only 13% oppose the idea.There are some concerns and issues with this to which the coalition parties will need to pay attention, such as those highlighted by the Centre fo Social Justice. But I am convinced that this is the right thing to do. A senior government source told The Sun newspaper “We came into power to help those who work hard and want to get on. “This does that, as it means those who have worked and saved all their life and bought a property won’t have it taken away just because they did the right thing. That’s only fair.”