The future of the welfare benefit Attendance Allowance is under consultation as part of the Government consultation on the future of Business Rates. Allowing local authorities to keep the money they receive from Business Rates, which is currently being explored, would come with additional responsibilities. One of these could be running the Attendance Allowance scheme – the consultation document talks about ‘giving more responsibility to Councils in England to support older people with care needs’. The new responsibilities would be ‘matched by equivalent spending power’ apparently.
The Local Government Association has stated that they don’t want responsibility for running Attendance Allowance payments. The Attendance Allowance system works reasonably well and many carers are dependent on the person they care for receiving this benefit – without it, they could not claim Carers Allowance for themselves.
These potential changes are at a very early stage of consultation. Even if the Government decides to go ahead with this change, it is unlikely to happen before late 2017/early 2018. However, changes in the benefit system are always disruptive, cause a great deal of concern for people in receipt of benefits and as far as Attendance Allowance is concerned, seem unnecessary.