Care costs in South East higher than anywhere else in England, research reveals

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The government’s delayed care fees cap will mean that the average person in residential care with nursing will lose out on thousands of pounds of financial assistance during the next four years, research as revealed.

JMW Solicitors found that somebody who begins paying for residential care with nursing in 2016 will have passed the £72,000 lifetime care fees cap by the time it is introduced in 2020, exceeding the cap by more than £60,000 in certain parts of England.

JMW said it based its findings on the average cost of residential care with nursing for four years across different regions in England, outlined in the Laing & Buisson Care of Older People UK Market Report 2013/14.

After deducting average general living costs of £12,000 per year, which do not count towards the cap, JMW found the average amount people will pay for residential care with nursing in England during the next four years is £104,048.

It said in the South East, this figure rises to £134,000, while those in the North West will spend £92,000 on residential care with nursing, excluding average general living costs which are estimated by the government to be £12,000 per year.

People in London pay the second highest amount for care in England, costing £124,000 for four years of residential care with nursing after the deduction of annual general living costs.

This figure was £117,000 for the South West, £96,000 for the West Midlands, £95,000 for the East Midlands, £88,000 for Yorkshire and the Humber and £75,000 for the North East.

Elaine Roche, partner at JMW, said: “If the cap had been introduced in 2016 as planned, people would start benefitting from government assistance towards their care costs immediately.

“But as it stands, somebody entering into care today who would have been eligible for the cap will now be forced to pay thousands of pounds more than the capped amount between now and 2020, when the legislation is being revisited.

“The cost of care in later life can be utterly crippling for British families and I have dealt with many cases where people have been forced to sell the family home in order to raise funds to cover care fees.

“The fee cap was welcomed with open arms by those of us involved in the industry, so it was disappointing to see such an important piece of legislation being postponed for four years when it could be helping people right now.”

“There are a number of ways for people to plan ahead for the cost of care, including wills that include trusts around family assets, appointing lasting powers of attorney and exploring gifts and inheritance tax planning.

“But it is essential for people to seek legal advice as early as possible, long before care even becomes a consideration, in order to make the necessary preparation - particularly as the cost of care is unlikely to decrease in the near future.”

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