Julie Morgan, Deputy Minister for Health and Social Services
Today I am pleased to announce the third and final increase in the level of capital those in residential care can retain without having to use this to pay for their care. The planned increase in this to £50,000 from next April will deliver one of our top 6 Taking Wales Forward commitments to more than double the amount of capital people requiring residential care can retain to use as they wish.
Following previous engagement with stakeholders we confirmed we would increase the capital limit in stages from its original level of £24,000 to our £50,000 commitment. From April 2017 the limit was raised to £30,000, supported by an additional £4.5 million per annum being added to the Revenue Support Grant (RSG) to enable local authorities’ implementation of this. From this April the limit was increased further to £40,000 with an additional £7 million per annum being added to the RSG to make funding of £11.5 million per annum in total.
The success of this policy can be seen through the direct impact it is having on care home residents in Wales. Over the 18 months since we introduced the first increase, around 1,500 care home residents have benefited which is a significant achievement in a relatively short timeframe. In view of this positive position I am pleased to announce the final increase to £50,000 in the limit, which will benefit yet more care home residents and prospective residents in the future. This will place Wales in the envious position of having the highest capital limit for residential care in the UK, providing our residents with a more tangible amount of capital to use as they wish.
As with previous increases this increase will require amending regulations to be made by the National Assembly. These will be introduced next year. Subject to this, it is planned to introduce the new limit from April 2019. Implementation will be supported by additional funding of £7 million per annum being included in the final local government settlement for 2019-20 to be published later this month. This will make the totality of funding being made available to support implementation of this policy of £18.5 million per annum.
Since embarking on the introduction of this policy we have undertaken regular monitoring to collect data from local authorities on the number of care home residents benefiting and the associated costs of implementation to ensure the funding being provided is appropriate. We will continue to do this to not only identify the full number of residents in Wales who are benefiting from this policy but to continue to ensure that the level of funding being provided is appropriate, allowing for adjustments to be made if necessary.
This statement is being issued during recess in order to keep members informed. Should members wish me to make a further statement, or to answer questions on this when the Assembly returns, I would be happy to do so.