Care home bills for the elderly to be more than doubled to £75,000 before they qualify for help from Government

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Elderly people will have to fork out £75,000 towards their care home bills under a new deal struck by the Government.

The lifetime cap is more than double the £35,000 limit recommended by Andrew Dilnot, the economist appointed by David Cameron to draw up fresh plans for change in July 2011.

The Government will foot the £700m bill.

It comes amid a growing crisis about the tens of thousands of pensioners who are forced to sell their homes to afford care, such as help with washing, dressing and feeding themselves.

Under England’s current system, pensioners with assets of £23,500 or more – including the value of their homes – have to pay unlimited care charges.

At least 20,000 have to sell their homes to pay for care every year.

Two years ago, Dilnot’s report found that pensioners should spend between £20,000 and 50,0000 on long-term care over a lifetime. After that point, the government would pay.

Chancellor George Osborne is understood to have baulked at Dilnot’s figure, which would have cost the state £1.7bn.

Under the new agreement struck, the cap will not cover the cost of board and lodging provided by care homes.

Pensioners may be faced with extra bills of about £10,000 a year for room and board.

The scheme is likely to begin in 2015 – 16.

It forms the centrepiece of the government’s mid-term review, which is published tomorrow.

The Government will outline further details in the coming months.

Norman Lamb, the care services minister, launched a last-minute plea earlier this week for the Chancellor to set aside money to end the scandal of pensioners having to sell their homes to fund sky-high care bills.

In a strongly worded intervention, he told the Mr Osborne: ‘We have just got to get on with it.’

Mr Lamb has been joined by three Tory-run councils which wrote to the Prime Minister urging a cap of £35,000 on the amount people have to pay.

Ros Altmann, director-general of Saga, warned: ‘If you have a cap as high as £75,000, most people will never reach it.’

A Whitehall source said that the new cap is likely to be something that Dilnot would support.

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