Julie Morgan AM, Deputy Minister for Health and Social Services
Today, the Welsh Government will deliver its commitment to the people of Wales to raise the capital limit in residential care to £50,000.
From today, people in Wales will be able to keep up to £50,000 of their savings, investments or other capital to use as they wish, without having to use this to pay for their residential care.
I am very pleased we have been able to do this two years earlier than planned.
The capital limit used in local authority charging for residential care will rise today from the current limit of £40,000 to £50,000, enabling residents to retain a further £10,000 of their savings, investments and other capital.
The success of this policy has been evident since its introduction in April 2017 – more than 1,500 care home residents have benefited from the two increases to date. This number will continue to rise with the new capital limit.
Wales has the highest capital limit for residential care in the UK. We also have a single limit, which protects all of the capital a person holds at or below £50,000. This is in contrast to England, for example, where a two-tier capital limit system operates with its upper limit frozen at £23,250 for almost the past decade.
The Welsh Government has provided local authorities with a further £7m funding a year, which has been included in the local government settlement, to raise the capital limit to £50,000. This brings the total funding provided to local authorities to support implementation of this policy to £18.5m a year. We will continue to collect data about the number of care home residents benefiting from this policy and the associated additional costs authorities incur from supporting them. This will help verify whether the funding we are providing is appropriate and allow for adjustments to be made if necessary.
Also from today, the maximum charge local authorities can make for homecare and other non-residential social care and support will rise from £80 to £90 a week.
This provision ensures a person cannot be charged more than this maximum for all the non-residential care they require. This increase raises additional income for local authorities to ensure the level and quality of non-residential care is maintained but only impacts on people with high levels of income or capital. Those on low incomes will continue to pay a low charge or no charge at all.
This statement is being issued during recess 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.