My Lords, I strongly support this amendment. If the Government do not agree with the intention behind the amendment, it is clear that they accept, no doubt at the Treasury’s insistence, that the social care crisis should continue for years to come. As we have already heard, the social care system is currently failing to support four out of every 10 disabled people of working age to do the basic things in life such as washing, dressing, eating and getting out of the house. The proposed national eligibility threshold will do nothing to change this. The cap on care costs for these people will be a fiction; unless their needs are assessed to be at the equivalent of “substantial” under the current FACS criteria, they could well spend a small fortune paying for care, none of which would count towards the overall cap.
The public would be shocked to learn that the level of needs spelled out in the amendment in the name of the noble Baroness, Lady Grey-Thompson, is not covered by the cap on care costs. The Government envisage that people whose needs are below the proposed national eligibility threshold will be helped by the universal preventive services covered in Clause 2. However, as the Care and Support Alliance points out, many of these services have already been axed in the cuts or are at risk of closure. The £2 billion funding is very welcome, but we need the Government to be clear with the public that they are endorsing the continuation of the social care crisis unless a major shift of resources takes place.