Elderly people in nursing homes could have to pay up to a hundred thousand pounds towards care costs under Government proposals announced today.
But the money would be borrowed from local councils and repaid from the person's estate after death.
The new system, due to start in 2015, would prevent elderly people being forced to sell their homes to pay for care.
Announcing the White Paper this afternoon, Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said the measures were designed to prevent a crisis in the funding of social care.
He told the House of Commons the biggest shake-up of the system since 1948 had been forced by the spiralling number of people living decades beyond retirement.
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