Yet Another Idea to Fund Social Care

The Centre for Policy Studies proposes a system in which everyone receives a state-funded weekly care payment.

This would be part funded by wealthier homeowners being asked to make a voluntary payment of up to £30,000 for their care needs in old age.

Those able to downsize or release equity from their homes would also be encouraged to contribute more to plug the current funding gap.

But critics say it would not be enough to address the £7bn shortfall.

As with every idea to fix the social care funding gap, the opposition has taken the political high ground and called on the government to reject the plan, which would “punish older people with a tax on getting old”.

At the moment, everyone with more than £23,250 has to pay for support. Below that threshold, they contribute to the cost – with the amount paid based on means-testing of both savings and income.

Previous Attempts

Attempts by successive governments to reform provision in England have foundered amid political disagreements and concerns over the financial costs involved.

The Conservatives dropped plans in 2017 to make people receiving care at home liable for the full cost if they were worth at least £100,000 following a political outcry.

Theresa May was accused of trying to introduce a “dementia tax” by charities and pensioner groups who said people would no longer be able to pass their homes down to their children if property values were taken into account when calculating care costs.

A previous idea has been to cap a individuals’ lifetime care costs (£50k then increased to £72k), although the Tories dropped the idea in 2017

Another scheme was to be take into account the value of an individual’s home when assessing both domestic and residential care costs. The PM quickly did a u-turn, saying costs would be capped – then the plans were – as usual – shelved after the snap election.

Labour have also struggled to get cross party support. They proposed charging a 10% levy on the estates of deceased people to pay for care costs. Amid a political backlash, the plans were dropped.

Is there an Answer?

Longer-term, everyone agrees that a radical overhaul is needed, bringing in a Universal Care payment each week for everyone regardless of their wealth. This would be similar to the state pension allowance and be paid for out of taxes.

The trouble is, increasing taxes isn’t exactly a vote winner.

Read more about the latest proposals on the bbc website here

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