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Tory care plan would mean ‘lottery’ for homeowners

Tory care plan would mean ‘lottery’ for homeowners

by Jack Gilbert, Gavin Lumsden May 18, 2017 at 15:58

Conservative plans to include the value of people’s homes when they are means-tested for social care have been criticised for ushering in a ‘regional lottery’.

Social care emerged as a key battle ground for the election today with a Conservative party manifesto proposal to quadruple to £100,000 the amount of wealth an individual can have and still receive free visits.

However, for the first time that sum will include the value of property. With the average house in England costing £232,530 that means millions of elderly or vulnerable people could eventually find themselves paying huge bills for care before receiving government help.

Homeowners will be able to defer payments so 'no-one will have to sell their home in their lifetime to pay for care’, the Conservatives said.

‘We believe this powerful combination maximises protection for pensioner households with modest assets, often invested in the family home, while remaining affordable for taxpayers,’ the party added.

Calculations by pension provider Royal London show people in London and the south east of England would potentially face the biggest bills from the proposal.

Government figures showed the average house price in the capital was £471,742 at the end of March, meaning a person would pay £371,742, or 79% of the value of their London family home, before the government stepped in.

Elsewhere in the south east homeowners needing day-to-day care would pay an average of £211,514 or 68% of the typical property.

By comparison in Northern Ireland and Wales, where property prices are much lower, homeowners would on average pay £24,000 and £47,746 respectively, equal to 19% and 32% of the value of their homes.

Steve Webb, a former LibDem pension minister now policy director at Royal London, said: ‘If these changes are implemented, more families will be at risk of seeing a large part of the value of their home wiped out by care costs later in life.

‘Without an overall cap on care costs, those who need care for a long period of time could see more than half the value of their home taken by care bills. Paying for care looks set to become a regional lottery,’ he said.

Sir Andrew Dilnot, who recommended a £35,000 cap on care costs in a report for the coalition government in 2011, was disappointed the government was not allowing people to protect themselves against care costs.

‘People will be left helpless, knowing that what will happen if they are unlucky enough to suffer the need for care costs, is that they will be entirely on their own until they are down to their last £100,000 of all of their wealth, including their house,’ he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn accused the Tories of outlining a ‘tax on dementia’.

Richard Parkin at Fidelity International said the government’s shift to greater self-reliance by individuals came with a ‘welcome' reassurance that families would not have to sell their homes to pay for social care.

However, he said there needed to be more clarity on how equity release loans – which allow homeowners to release some of the value in their homes – and pension savings would work with the proposed scheme.

‘It seems there may be plenty of bear traps in the detail here though. How will government treat equity release debts in calculating value and how will unused pension pots be counted? Without a coherent policy there will be plenty of scope for arbitrage of the rules by the wealthy,’ Parkin said.

Triple lock drop

After much debate the Conservatives have decided to drop the ‘triple lock’ protection for the state pension by 2020, saying it would have served its purpose of uprating payments by then.

This is another difference from Labour which has said it would preserve the system which says the state pension will rise by a minimum of 2.5% a year, or higher if earnings or inflation are above this level.

‘We will keep our promise to maintain the triple lock until 2020, and when it expires we will introduce a new “double lock”, meaning that pensions will rise in line with the earnings that pay for them, or in line with inflation – whichever is highest. We will also ensure that the state pension age reflects increases in life expectancy, while protecting each generation fairly.’

In a manifesto big on pension policy the Conservatives also pledged to include the self-employed within the ‘auto-enrolment’ programme. In recent years this has got millions of workers saving into a personal pension and has been seen as a rare example of successful cross-party, retirement savings policy, first suggested by the Labour government and implemented by the Con-Lib coalition.

The document also stressed its commitment to helping younger people save and specifically mentioned the lifetime ISA which launched last month.

The party also said it would seek to protect workplace pensions from abuse by employers which are 'mismanaging pension schemes'. The Pensions Regulator (TPR) will have have the power to give out greater fines.

Other policies

The manifesto also included a proposal to create ‘UK sovereign wealth funds’ which would be used to provide investment for infrastructure and the British economy. The Party said it would encourage pension schemes to join these investment funds.

The Conservatives pledged not to increase the level of value added tax (VAT) and to continue with the plan to cut corporation tax to 17%.
The party did not include a line on whether or not income tax or national insurance contributions could increase, which was a promise of David Cameron's 2015 election campaign.

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Comments  (84)

  • Doc K: 

    Don't see what the fuss is about. If people can afford to pay for their own care costs, they should do so.

    17:38 on 18 May 2017

  • Cynical Investor2: 

    Doc K, agree. If home owners are concerned about where the equity in their homes will go later they should make provision now and not grumble.

    17:51 on 18 May 2017

  • White Stick follower: 

    Whilst the observation may well be true, from a brief straw poll amongst neighbours, this is not a welcome Manifesto , greeted with dark threats of not voting as almost all have done for years, Tory. So Mrs. May should be careful. We live in her constituency as indeed to a great many senior folk!!

    Whllst no-one can consider Corbyn as PM, TM's majority might take a dive.

    17:55 on 18 May 2017

  • Doc K: 

    We have to get away from the sense of entitlement that is so widespread. The state should help and provide for those who can't afford to pay. Those who can, should look after themselves!

    18:11 on 18 May 2017

  • DaveD: 

    Once again the careful and frugal get stitched up whilst the profligate wastrels, who spend their lives being propped up by the state get a free ride.

    I no longer trust this woman.

    18:45 on 18 May 2017

  • bouleversee: 

    It doesn't seem fair to me that if you are unlucky enough to have a longterm illness, needing lots of care, rotting in a home for years, you should also possibly lose all your assets bar £100k whereas those blessed with good health till they die in their sleep one night or have a heart attack and snuff it don't have to pay anything. None of us knows which camp we will be in. Clearly, the cost of caring for more people for longer has to be covered somehow but I had hoped someone would come up with a scheme which pooled the risk so that we all paid some sort of hypothecated NI for this purpose and counted our blessings if we didn't need the care it covered. With the new proposals, there would be an incentive to sell and rent and spend everything on high living and then depend on the taxpayer. It is a retrograde step that the cap on payments has gone by the board. My parents were in various homes for about 20 years as they became increasingly dependent, the only ones paying for themselves and paying more than the Council paid for the others, and gradually went through all their savings. I did wonder whether, after my Pa was diagnosed in his thirties with MS and told to put his affairs in order, if he had known what was to happen to his savings he would have struggled, with my mother's help, to carry on his grocery and bakery business till the age of 65, though I suppose he had no choice. We certainly did not live like wealthy people as most of his savings were tied up in rent-controlled housing which was gradually realised to pay the home fees. Why bother to save?

    18:51 on 18 May 2017

  • Cynical Investor2: 

    Being of the senior Generation I do feel comfortable, No Mortgage, Good savings, Company pension is more than adequate for our needs. Children have been encouraged to be independent and self sufficient. If they, rarely, need help they get it and do not expect to value from our death. I have no problem in looking after our needs in Old age should it become necessary. I do not want to be a burden on the State, which is ultimately funded by the younger generation, who if we are not careful will have nothing to look forward too..

    18:52 on 18 May 2017

  • bouleversee: 

    But if we all paid an appropriate amount into a national insurance scheme, the State, i.e. the taxpayer, wouldn't be paying for your care, and anyway I presume you are paying tax yourself. How about your grandchildren? Doesn't it bother you that you might not be able to leave them much (and they are the ones who are going to need it) , whereas their friends might inherit much bigger sums from grandparents/parents who had not been afflicted by prolonged illness? I don't want to be a burden on anyone either but nor do I see why I should pay for others who have had just as high incomes and spent them all.

    19:11 on 18 May 2017

  • Mystery Woman: 

    Taking from both sources of hard earned income does make me wonder if this is the Conservative Party I have voted for most of my life.

    How is this equable?

    19:14 on 18 May 2017

  • Jon: 

    It appears from the title and the comments by Steve Webb that those in the South are entitled to keep more of their money than those in the North. Now that would be a postcode lottery.

    19:21 on 18 May 2017

  • bouleversee: 

    Not sure you have interpreted his comments correctly. £100k goes much further towards buying a house in the North than in the South. Let's say someone in the North was able to leave £100k to one child/grandchild, that would be a pretty good deposit whereas someone in the South is able to leave £100k to 3 grandchildren, as one lady said on R4 this evening, it wouldn't even buy a hencoop. I agree it's all a horrendous lottery, however, and I've never liked lotteries.

    19:29 on 18 May 2017

  • Si via mobile

    And what happens when half a couple goes into care and the other half needs to live off the joint pension assets and in the jointly owned house. There is nothing in this policy that rewards hard work and saving. TM is deserting her core support with this measure. She shouldn't take so much for granted.

    19:36 on 18 May 2017

  • Doug Sammons: 

    This could change peoples voting intentions. Why put it in the manifesto at all, rather than just have it in the first budget is amazing.

    She is beginning to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

    The next poll will show Labour gains.

    19:53 on 18 May 2017

  • Jon: 

    bouleversee - there is no mention of what the £100k savings might be used for. £100k is £100k whever you live. If this hidden tax were to be based on house prices, then should all other taxes also be based on them !!!! Giving people in the South more money will just exacerbate the house price situation.

    Everyone has a choice where they work and live. Jobs in the South will pay more, and, historically house prices have increased far more than in the rest of the Country. So, if you decide to live in the South then you know the score and should not expect special treatment.

    20:02 on 18 May 2017

  • Cynical Investor2: 

    At present anyone receiving care is allowed assets of £23,000 or thereabouts before Care Costs are levied. Therefore a person aged 75 and occupying property worth £350K and average care costs of more or less £1000/week. could expect just under 7years of care before their money runs out and the State takes over. They and or their Family would be left with £23K, whereas under this deal will be left with £100K. A better outcome one would think unless, and someone is bound to mention, that person only lives for 5 years.

    20:19 on 18 May 2017

  • xxxxx: 

    I am really amazed at the Tories going after their key voters.

    She called the election to get a big majority and endorsement for the Brexit negotiations. She was very much on course but is now taking an enormous risk by incurring the wrath of the elderly. This could be a spectacular own goal. She must have been advised by Donald Trump.

    20:57 on 18 May 2017

  • Roger Savage: 

    "Don't see what the fuss is about. If people can afford to pay for their own care costs, they should do so"

    Interesting. So serious offenders don't have to pay for the costs of their incarceration yet it's OK to expect people who have worked hard and contributed to society to pay again and again (remember National Insurance is supposed to be for healthcare)? That is, anyone who dares to have anything left must pay more out of assets they may have acquired out of their already heavily taxed and taxed again income over their lifetime?

    Those who have umpteen kids during the time they live on benefits - we can expect to give them a free ride, along with countless other examples of people who *could* contribute but deliberately opt to take instead?

    What is the message really here - work hard, have something to show for it and the state will help itself and that's OK. Do sod all or opt for a life of crime and there will be nothing to pay for the benefits expended?

    Seems a pretty twisted society to me, it really does, even more twisted that people can't see the divide and conquer/politics of envy tactics of 'haves' and 'have nots' without looking at the bigger picture of where our tax money really goes (i.e. wasted) and the immorality of the biggest contributors being the easiest targets.

    The elderly seem to be blamed for everything these days - I wonder why the politicians and those that pull their strings who *really* have destroyed/betrayed our society and enriched themselves in the process favour that approach? Mmm... the handy diversion is pretty obvious.

    21:42 on 18 May 2017

  • Mr J: 

    As bouleversee makes clear this is the most appalling policy. As usual the very rich will be fine, they can pay for their own private care without selling off all their assets. The poor will be fine because they have no money so the state will pay everything for them. Anyone in the middle that has actually tried to do the right thing, to expend effort and initiative, to study, to save, to plan and invest to provide for themselves and their family will be punished in a vicious and cruel health lottery. Heads your efforts are worthwhile and your family can keep the proceeds of all that toil, Tails and not only do you lose your health, but the helpful state will rob you of almost everything you strived for into the bargain.

    Usually these difficult policy areas are subject to proposals, comment, papers, reworks, retractions and development over years. A few weeks ago there were no firm proposals and it was not seemingly a top priority. Suddenly now a chance to shove an appalling and unacceptable policy which has been dreamt up in 5 minutes into the manifesto and then claim people voted for it.

    Oh and it's marvellous because no-one needs to pay while they are alive. Best to tax the dead for all they are worth because they can't complain and don't have a vote.

    Imagine a world where house insurance was unavailable. A lottery world where an act of chance determines your entire life. House fire - lose everything. Gas explosion - lose everything. Get lucky and escape such events - great good life awaits. Nothing to do with being responsible just a lottery. This is why we all pay house insurance so our lives are no longer a pure lottery. We pool and shre the risk.

    This policy is appalling and idiotic. Did I say that already. Boy I am angry - maybe I vote LibDem now.

    Easy to think of better answers. People will contribute, but the lucky healthy must pay towards the costs for the unlucky struck down by dementia or other illness. That's fair, that's right.

    00:48 on 19 May 2017

  • Mr J: 

    How about the government give you choices...

    (a) Participate in their appalling lottery

    (b) Opt to pay say £2000 ( or even say 10% of income) a year every year from age 67 to buy yourself out of the lottery and have care funded if you need it.

    (c) Opt to pay a lump sum of say £100,000 to gov from your estate when you die and you can have care funded if you need it.

    Gosh a better policy in just 5 minutes - not that hard is it.

    01:02 on 19 May 2017

  • Independent Thought: 

    "regionally unfair" and quite right too. It is only fair to take from the richest in the country, from the homeowners (rather from their estates) of London etc...

    07:33 on 19 May 2017

  • Independent Thought: 

    The problem with this manifesto policy as I see it is that the £100,000 is not index-linked (or similar). It will be worth virtually nothing in 10 years, let alone 20 or 30. It should be index linked. FYI I do live in a house worth much more currently than £100K.

    07:39 on 19 May 2017

  • bouleversee: 

    Don't forget that even if you have paid for all of your care your estate will still have to pay 40% tax on anything above £325k though you may or may not get some RNRB relief. Nothing said about that, however, or the proposed increase in the probate fee but I did see something about simplifying taxation so it wouldn't surprise me if the RNRB and the various savings interest and dividend allowances disappeared in the first budget. I think they are also likely to introduce an immediate capital transfer/gift tax and get rid of the 7 year rule. Should do wonders for the economy as many will feel they may as well spend all they earn rather than save for the future and to help their children.

    09:08 on 19 May 2017

  • John M.: 

    Well said, Roger Savage and Mr J. The most sensible, relevant and accurate comments so far.

    10:45 on 19 May 2017

  • Cynical Investor2: 

    Really, those of us born during the Post-war Baby boom should realise the growing cost of care is unsustainable and something has needed to done for some time now.

    Care-Homes and Agencies are going broke every week, the stage will be reached where there are NO Homes and Fewer Carers to cope with the growing demand.

    10:57 on 19 May 2017

  • Doc K: 

    Couldn't agree more Cynical Investor2. Everyone seems to assume that the State will pay for everything. Unfortunately this is not possible as we are all living longer and the percentage of the working population is decreasing. We should not rely on our children and grandchildren to fund our care. If we do, tax rates will go through the roof. Instead, I would prefer lower taxes, allowing people to have the choice to spend or to save and do what they want with their savings. The State should provide a safety net and not be the provider of first resort!

    11:07 on 19 May 2017

  • Roger Savage: 

    @Cynical Investor2 and Doc K.

    Any argument about not being able to afford elderly care falls apart when we objectively and comparatively consider profligate waste of tax and NI receipts.

    Here's how we could achieve a massive excess of funding for those who have contributed to society and *earnt* the provision of care in a decent society:

    - Making prisoners and those who require care due to self-inflicted choices pay for the cost of *their* care

    - Slashing public sector waste (there's plenty of it)

    - Slashing benefits for the 'could work, can't be bothered

    - Slashing foreign aid

    - Cancelling child benefits for children who live outside the UK

    - Cancelling payments to those coming to the UK that don't contribute

    - Sharply reducing pensions for civil servants and MPs

    - Cancelling Legal Aid for all but the most deserving cases - not to fund appeal after appeal and lawyers' new BMWs.

    - Ending subsidies for house builders and bankers via bailouts and schemes to boost their balance sheets (e.g. Help to Buy)

    That's only touching the surface of how public money is wasted and provides an example of how care is easily affordable - it's just that tax and NI that people pay during their working lives is squandered by the traitors masquerading as leaders of our formerly great nation.

    That's the same nation that has become a magnet for the real drains on our society - those who have *never* tangibly contributed - the very people who *really* assume the state pays for everything (and, you know, generally it does to buy votes).

    Let's get some perspective and then there will be plenty for those who deserve state support - those who have contributed.

    18:02 on 19 May 2017

  • Cynical Investor2: 

    Roger one can agree with much of the waste you state, however the fact remains compared with 30 years ago when we worked, there has been an enormous shift in the Age demographic. We pensioners have had a good run with the triple lock, fuel allowances etc, it cannot go on, the younger generation will have nothing if they are bled dry.

    19:18 on 19 May 2017

  • Roger Savage: 

    @Cynical Investor2

    The younger generation are not being bled dry by elderly care costs or the elderly. If you believe they're being bled dry, it is by politicians serving the interests of themselves and those who fund them (i.e. party donors). It is they who put out ageist propaganda (essentially what it is).

    You say "we" by the way but I'm in my early 40s - I just happen to hate ageist rhetoric and seeing people from my parents' generation falsely being targeted for the ills of society by the real perpetrators who benefit from diversion tactics.

    The demographic time bomb is not an aging population, it has been a rapid demographic-based destruction of our society based around 'too many, too quick' mass immigration.

    Wages are stagnating. Why? It isn't a shortage of labour (look how many people are unemployed - many of whom could work but choose not to)

    No, wages are stagnating due to a tidal wave of cheap imported labour - so beloved of party donors, hence why the floodgates have been opened, hence why we always 'need' migrants otherwise the country will be in 'grave peril' (nonsense). Cheap labour = higher profits, that's it!

    There's a story out today that those who speak poor English are being given double the time with a GP than regular patients. Not only does this impact patient care, translators are also being paid for by the NHS.

    These are the sort of things (plus my original list) killing the country and draining resources. It just depends if you don't have ageist blinkers on and are capable of making comparisons that call out the myths of there being no money for this, that and the next thing whereas there always seems to be money for other things.

    Worth noting too that a lot, but not all of) the younger generation seem to be very happy loading up on credit to buy the latest cars, gadgets, holidays and fund a champagne lifestyle on lemonade money. They seem to believe they're entitled to everything now - saving up or making do isn't an option. They're fuelling their own demise essentially by worshipping at the altar of credit-fuelled consumerism.

    Many elderly people never took that approach or had the opportunity to live the sort of lifestyle younger people live now, even if it is with other people's money.

    19:42 on 19 May 2017

  • bouleversee: 

    Well, my younger generation have had loads of help from me and my late husband and spend a lot more than we ever did. The increase on my state pension amounts to precious little:SERPs was only increased by 1% this year and not at all the previous one and 2.5% of not very much basic is still precious little. As for the 25p addition now I'm 80, not worth the cost of writing to tell me about it. The rest of my pension is a proportion of the fixed rate annuity I have inherited from my husband. Otherwise, any affluence I have is down to our frugality, saving and money management, nothing to do with the state and costs the taxpayer nothing, and we have paid plenty of tax and I will continue to pay a fair whack. Perhaps you have an indexed final salary pension, a dying breed. My council tax went up 4% this year and my utility bill is £145 p.m. but I will lose the heating allowance presumably. I am happy to pay a reasonable sum towards care costs and can afford to do so, but I still think it unfair that some people should be cleaned out bar £100k through care costs and others, possibly better off, should escape entirely, as well as escaping the suffering that goes with the need for care. As Dilnot said, you don't have to bear the costs if your house burns down because insurance is available to pool the risk..

    20:05 on 19 May 2017

  • xxxxx: 

    It is worth reading the Institute of Fiscal Studies analysis of the Conservative's proposals. Skip to the conclusion if you don't want to read the detail.


    The bottom line is that people want to insure themselves against the risk of needing care but they can't because that type of insurance isn't provided by the market place. Older people don't want something for nothing. They want to make sure that they don't face extreme risks in the same way most of us take out insurance in case our house might burn down. Where there is market failure the Government traditionally has a role but older people are willing to pay the cost through social insurance. You may never claim on the insurance but you can sleep at night knowing you don't face the risk of enormous costs.

    12:21 on 20 May 2017

  • Cynical Investor2: 

    Surely the Insurance for a persons Long term Care is held within the equity value of their home and is only released once they are dead, and at least £100K will remain as part of the deceased Estate.

    At the moment anyone going into care can only retain £23K before Care costs click-in, and can ultimately left with a quarter of what these new proposals state.

    12:49 on 20 May 2017

  • Doc K: 

    Spot on Cynical Investor2, well put.

    13:19 on 20 May 2017

  • Independent Thought: 

    Cynical Investor2

    1. The case of the person who "goes into care" i.e. into a nursing home or similar is improved.

    2. The problem lies with the person who ends up being cared for at home. Their estate pays more, up until now they could pass on all their house. It is a measure to increase not decrease taxes overall. Because they are inheritance taxes, personally I think they are moral. What I don't like about it is that

    A. none of these allowances allows for inflation. £100,000 is now something, it won't be much in a decade or 2.

    B. Also, worth bearing in mind is that I don't believe house price inflation is going away and so the pot should be larger in the future, at least for anyone who owns a home, or any investments come to think of it.

    13:35 on 20 May 2017

  • xxxxx: 

    Oh dear they didn't bother reading what the IFS said about insuring for risk which also reflects what Dilnot said who looked at the subject in depth.

    14:07 on 20 May 2017

  • Independent Thought: 



    "Perhaps the problem with the Dilnot recommendations was that there was never any solid plan, or political consensus, for how they were to be funded. The Commission’s remit was more focused on the balance between the individual’s and the state’s burden. It was assumed, without a great deal of evidence, that a market for insurance would appear to cover the cost of care up to the point at which the government took on the majority of costs. Funding the state’s contribution to adult social care, however, was an unsettled matter." So insurance unproven, funding unfunded!

    15:13 on 20 May 2017

  • xxxxx: 

    That same organisation says "it seems unlikely that the proposals in the Tory manifesto will deal effectively with the challenge of either delivering sustainable financing for social care or reforming social care provision itself".

    Sir Andrew Dilnot said the proposals "show a less than full understanding of the problem"

    This is possibly because as the FT reported on Friday the proposals were shoved in the manifesto at the last minute.

    None of which is terribly comforting.

    18:20 on 20 May 2017

  • Dennis .: 

    Nothing has been said about houses jointly owned. So I go into a care home and rack up lots of fees and die but what about my spouse still living in the house (now worth only £100K after the bills are settled). Presumably she can stay living in the house but what if she goes into care? Presumably the state pays for it as there is only £100k equity left in the house. You can't spend it twice.

    18:31 on 20 May 2017

  • Independent Thought: 

    xxxxx I haven't read the Conservative manifesto. They would have been sensible to leave some wiggle room, did they? In any case, they can make non-manifesto changes - don't they do that at every budget?

    18:34 on 20 May 2017

  • Independent Thought: 

    Dennis . Exactly right, I would assume. You would have to be unfortunate for both of you to need care. I think it is about 10% of people above 65. Probably depends on how long you live.

    18:54 on 20 May 2017

  • Dennis .: 

    And if you have taken out a chunk of equity release and spent it on a cruise/ferrari and then the surviving spouse remarries ..... there are all sorts of scenarios possible, you can see that this has not really been thought through.

    19:02 on 20 May 2017

  • Cynical Investor2: 

    Dennis, at present go into a Care Home and the Local Authority who manage this part of the Care System, will require to home to be sold or funds provided equal to the value of the house less £23500. The resulting funds will then be used to pay Care Homes Fees. This can potentially make a spouse Homeless unless the Local Authority can place the Couple together, which does happen, however they usually have separate rooms.

    Under the Conservative proposals, and it does need elaborating, the Marital home will remain as an asset with a Legal Charge which allows the Authorities to dispose of upon the demise of the Care Recipient(s), and recover Care Costs incurred They can only recover an amount which must leave at least £100K.

    The Dilnot Report was completed 6 years ago against a background of a realisation a bulging Elderly population would eventually overwhelm the Care system. Politicians of all persuasions have shied away from the problem for years.

    The Conservatives are endeavouring to deal with it, but the disparity in interpretation of their Proposals do require fundamental Clarification.

    19:12 on 20 May 2017

  • Independent Thought: 

    I think May's surprised even the Conservatives. They didn't have time to dot is and cross ts. All the manifestos will have holes in them. I saw somewhere on TV that the Labour Party are proposing to spend more than any government since 1949! Your money, my money, our pensions, our investments :-)

    20:01 on 20 May 2017

  • Dennis .: 

    Presumably the debt will fall on the person in the care and not the married couple so that if the house is jointly owned then the local Authority cannot make the spouse destitute and homeless, they can only have ( £care fees-£100k) from each party.

    20:51 on 20 May 2017

  • Cynical Investor2: 

    That may be a subtle way of putting it, however it is likely that Legal Phrase, "Jointly and Severally Responsible" may be used. You are right an Authority could not be seen to making someone Homeless, there are however nuances they could use. For instance a relatively fit Spouse who is the Carer of a Partner could receive additional support at home for which the cost may need to be covered at some future date.

    I know a couple where the wife has Dementia and the husband was her carer. It got to a point where, even though Home support was in place, the Husband became exhausted, he was there 24/7, and it was decided they both move to a Residential Care Home. Their home was Sold and they were allowed to retain £47000 (2X £23500) which they gifted to Children.

    They are happy with this arrangement as they wanted to be together.

    21:23 on 20 May 2017

  • Independent Thought: 


    He was talking about the present case. Check the Conservative manifesto if you want every little detail. They can change them anyway!

    21:27 on 20 May 2017

  • Linda Green: 

    I live off 10k a yr occupational pension, and am lucky in comparison with many others. I have a home and savings which I built up for my old age. However nothing I ever could have done would have allowed me to find enough for the huge costs of social care. I have two adult children, and there is not a cats chance in hell of them ever being able to buy there own homes at today's prices. There only chance for that is if they inherit from me. If the cost of my care comes from this house they have no hope.

    12:02 on 21 May 2017

  • Mr J: 

    Cynical Investor 2 seems to misunderstand the main point here which is that an unlimited Dementia tax is grossly unfair and does constitute the imposition of a Health Lottery by the government.

    Most people accept that there are costs to bear for our shared national responsibility to care for elderly and Ill people. Especially with the ageing population and escalating costs. Most people are willing to make a contribution both to a collective scheme and as individuals for their own care. However what people will not accept because it is grossly unfair is to tax away/ take 80% or 90% of someone's assets because they fall Ill with dementia, when their healthy (lucky) neighbour suffers no tax and contributes nothing to the costs.

    Let us follow the stupidity of this policy through for those that still think this is sensible in any way (perhaps those with fewer assets)... Suppose a person falls Ill with a serious condition that will cost the state 100s of thousands of pounds in treatment and care. Let's say cancer for example. Well the sensible way to pay for this is for the person concerned to pay with their own assets until they get down to their last 100k. And for the state to take this as a charge against the individual's estate when they die. One such condition is cancer. Another is heart disease. Another is say Crohns disease. All such people should pay themselves in this way.

    Nobody would ever say or accept this. Ergo it is equally unacceptable for Dementia.

    It is undeniable. It is unarguable. This Tory policy is wrong. Fact.

    12:04 on 21 May 2017

  • White Stick follower: 

    Care insurance- as such this appears not to exist. The only option seems to be an Annuity. Last time I needed to explore this for an elderly relative only two insurers provided such an option and both insisted that a Care Home Annuity must be bought through an IFA, which in the case of my late Aunt cost about £3,500 for his 'advice' and services- 2 phone calls & 2 quotes. Average stay in a care home pending death is about 16 months!!

    12:11 on 21 May 2017

  • Mr J: 

    As others above start to see. There are also many unknowns with this policy of idiots.

    What happens to spouses that may or may not own half the property ?

    When is the 100k decided at point of going into care, at point of death 6 years later when the property assets may have doubled in value netting the state another handsome sum ?

    What happens if the spouse sells the house ?

    Will the state charge interest at multiples above the market interest rate as they do on student 'loans'?

    But this policy has to go anyway. It is indefensible.

    12:12 on 21 May 2017

  • Doc K: 

    Mr J, it is wrong to call it a tax, because savings are being used to look after oneself not others. I am afraid we all need to take more responsibility for our own welfare, rather than relying on the State i.e. our children and grandchildren to provide though increased taxation. I am afraid care costs for old people like me are no longer affordable because there are more of us and we are living longer!

    12:56 on 21 May 2017

  • xxxxx: 

    I agree with what Mr J says in his two posts. I would add that Dignitas might see an uptick in business.

    But let's remember what this election was supposed to be about - to give Theresa May a thumping majority to go into negotiations on Brexit. This social care policy has the potential to derail that ambition. If that proves to be the case, then such poor judgement has been used on what should have been a straightforward win that you have to fear for our competence in negotiating Brexit.

    The Tory manifesto also has an overall tone of negativity. Labour on balance one more of optimism. Corbyn is showing he is not afraid of ordinary voters as opposed to the stage managed events by Theresa May.

    The election could be more finely balanced than the polls suggest at the moment and that should never have been the case. I speak as someone who was definitely going to vote Conservative and now I am not so sure.

    13:00 on 21 May 2017

  • Cynical Investor2: 

    Doc K, you and I are on the same Hymn sheet.

    Most of us have worked hard and amassed assets which we want to protect in perpetuity.

    We must get real longevity increases, numbers increase,costs increase and yet selfishly we believe the State is obliged to pick up the Bill.

    As already stated there are disparities in the proposal. Damian Green gave a little more clarity to the plan this morning. Where couples are concerned the surviving spouse will remain in the home for the rest of their life before any funds are taken. At the moment anyone going into care will be left with only £23500. This aspect seems to have escaped the attention of most people.

    Linda Green, above, is concerned about her situation and the childrens inheritance. If she is unfortuneate to need Care Home accommodation, as things stand now, her children could be left with just £23500, whereas under this plan they would receive NO less than £100,000. If this is not a better deal I don't know what is.

    The Labour Party are promising all sorts of things and yet have Front Bench spokespeople who cannot understand simple arithmetic, even this morning John McDonnel claims their Nationalisation programme will be " Cash Neutral". What tosh, unless they are planning to confiscate all Shareholders assets without Compensation, which will effect everyone who has an Independent pension, every man woman and child will be poorer so do not rely on the Labour Party's extravagances to jack up Pensions and cover the Care costs this thread is all about.

    17:12 on 21 May 2017

  • Independent Thought: 

    Anyone who has got investments and is thinking about voting Labour. Think about this:-

    The Labour Party plans to tax the market makers. These are the people who you buy and sell your shares to (or at least your pension fund does this). They will simply pass on these costs to youultimately and your investments/pension fund in the form of an increased spread. An investment tax if you like, and while you are alive!

    There is actually not much stopping the government from accessing your pension (or ISA, or other savings) by changing the rules. Much like Gordon Brown did not that long ago.

    I saw a analysis on the BBC the other day. Largest tax take since 1949. The manifesto is just a plan and will be supplemented/amended as proves necessary. If you have money and you really think you will escape that, good luck is all I can say.

    19:06 on 21 May 2017

  • Independent Thought: 

    Sorry I meant the largest spend since 1949.

    19:10 on 21 May 2017

  • Dennis .: 

    Sell in in May and go away suddenly has a new meaning.

    19:23 on 21 May 2017

  • Independent Thought: 

    ha ha ha

    19:30 on 21 May 2017

  • Cynical Investor2: 

    Yes,I.T. my father often recalled the "Groundnut Scheme", the Attlee Govenrnent invested Millions in 1949, and in 1951/2 wrote off almost £50m as the scheme was an abject failure. Post-war, £50m was a hell of lot of money especially when this Country was on it's knees.

    19:30 on 21 May 2017

  • Mr J: 

    CI2 and Doc K, you still seem to completely miss the point. It is not about the need for people to contribute to the nations care costs. That is accepted. It is about fairness. Fall Ill with cancer and the state will pay 100% for treatment and care until the day you die or survive. Fall Ill with dementia and the state will strip your family of almost all your assets as you pay 100% and the state pays nothing. Indefensible.

    If you only have £100k it sounds great, if you have £500k whether it be a house, a pension, or investments then if you get Ill lose almost all of it, if you get lucky and don't get Ill you can keep it all. Dickensian.

    07:47 on 22 May 2017

  • Cynical Investor2: 

    Mr J, with respect the point is how are these escalating care costs going to be Funded, which are Individual. The 2 examples cited I can relate too easily, my father had cancer and mother had dementia, both received Medical Treatment without charge. Mother eventually needed Care-Home nursing as she became un-manageable at home, this came at a cost to her, something our Family accepted as it was best for her and therefore funds were of low consequence compared to her comfort.

    Many of us have assets in excess of the figures quoted and if protection of those assets is more important than having care and comfort in Old age, then there are mechanisms available to protect and maybe anyone so concerned should consult a Lawyer and Accountant.

    08:40 on 22 May 2017

  • Doc K: 

    Agreed CI2.

    In fact, this may be the start of the extremely difficult conversation that everyone, wants to avoid: can we afford to continue with the NHS in its present form? I don't pretend to know the answer, but I think the rapidly increasing cost of continuing the present system will soon need to be addressed. The demand for health care will continue to grow, but will it be wholly funded by the State through ever increasing taxation or will another type of scheme emerge? We need a non political debate to determine a solution that is in the best interests of all.

    11:00 on 22 May 2017

  • White Stick follower: 

    Given the latest 'update' from Tory HQ it appears that their bottle has gone in the face of the fury over this issue. The, now given, assurance that there will, of course, be a cap on the amount health sufferers, those in need of social care would pay has been rushed out. However it is largely worthless as the 'clarification' contains no figures, not that any manifesto is really worth the paper its written on.

    14:50 on 22 May 2017

  • bouleversee: 

    I think May would have done better to have stayed at No 10 sorting out the finer details rather than rushing out a half-baked document which was bound to upset the majority of their core voters in this respect. However much they pretend, I don't think it was their intention to retain a cap but I think they will be obliged io, albeit it at a higher figure

    15:29 on 22 May 2017

  • Paul Anderson: 

    I believe that this is an engineered policy to make families more responsible for the care of parents, rather than some cynical ploy to tax everything above 100k, and frankly speaking, if offspring want to inherit parental wealth, they should be encouraged to provide care to their parents when required, unless of course specialist care is necessary. The thought of going into care horrifies me and my wife, so children will be expected to muck in and do whatever is required to preserve the family wealth, if they want to benefit from it.

    18:46 on 22 May 2017

  • Cynical Investor2: 

    Paul. here here. It never ceases to amaze me how Children will do as little as possible in supporting ageing parents, and yet when the Death bell sounds are like Vultures picking over the corpse...Appaling.

    19:06 on 22 May 2017

  • Independent Thought: 

    Cynical Investor2 I see what you mean by cynical.

    19:17 on 22 May 2017

  • Cynical Investor2: 

    IT. lifetime of observation.

    20:31 on 22 May 2017

  • Independent Thought: 

    ha ha ha

    20:39 on 22 May 2017

  • bouleversee: 

    Well, it's all changed now, apparently, and the cap is going to be under discussion/consultation againl. As for your sprogs undertaking your care, forget it. a) they are all in full time employment, b) they don't live near enough, c) they really don't want to be committed to changing your colostomy bag or cleaning up when It comes off, or whatever and d) they have much better things to do with their free time, such as it is and if they are earning a reasonable amount of money, they'd rather forego any inheritance (especially if you have made the mistake of giving them money already) than spend their free time caring for you.

    Nevertheless, having listened to all the arguments, I still think it unfair that as well as having to suffer a long, painful period requiring care (which in my experience leaves a lot to be desired) most of your assets could be taken to cover the cost of that (and yes, interest will be added and compounded) whereas someone who has a sudden death pays nothing.

    21:50 on 22 May 2017

  • Cynical Investor2: 

    Perhaps sudden death is preferable, but try to make sure your Will is over 7 years old otherwise the State will clobber your Estate anyway.

    22:56 on 22 May 2017

  • bouleversee: 

    Cynical Investor

    Rubbish. The 7 yr rule has nothing to do with the date of your will. It applies to the date of any gifts you make before your death and the level of tax diminishes as the years go by. I forget the details but the tax is less if you live for at least 5 years after the gift. Anything over £325k left in your will is subject to IHT at 40%, unless left to your spouse. My guess is that if the manifesto pledge is carried out without any cap, there will be a rush to give away assets and it is likely that to avoid this an immediate capital transfer tax will be introduced.

    However, in view of the mishandling of this manifesto pledge and rapid U-turn, combined with the Labour bribe to students, I don't think a Tory landslide or even victory at all is by any means a foregone conclusion.

    23:16 on 22 May 2017

  • Mr J: 

    I am always shocked at people's expectation that their children should be their carers. Old age comes to us all unless we die first and no doubt it is not going to be very pleasant. But personally I will want my children to be making the most of their own lives and not giving their lives up so as to change my colostomy bag every 12 hours for 7 years. I don't believe we owe our parents any debt at all and certainly my children owe me none. I have had the pleasure of bringing them up and only wish for them to find the most happiness they can whatever form that may take. They may become people I like or people I dislike but I release them and hope to see them fly. If they never return I am content. If they need to return I am here. I hope I may see them from time to time but they owe me nothing. They will return anything I may have given them to their own children. I hope they may be responsible and generous enough to put me into decent care when the time comes but realise that will be outside my control. I hope I have the courage to grow old without thinking the worst of the young or casting out my judgements on them. I hope society can embrace the last taboo and allow assisted dying so that I may die with the dignity we confer upon dogs and horses.

    00:21 on 23 May 2017

  • Independent Thought: 

    Mr J Hmmmmm no on your death bed yet I assume. You might change your tune by then!

    01:11 on 23 May 2017

  • Independent Thought: 

    no > not

    01:11 on 23 May 2017

  • DaveD: 

    Mr J.

    Well said.

    What I do for my children is for my pleasure. They should feel independence not obligation.

    08:56 on 23 May 2017

  • John M.: 

    Thank you for that last comment, Mr J.

    I found it to be most moving, and I agree with it 100%.

    10:59 on 23 May 2017

  • Cynical Investor2: 

    bouleversee, thanks for the correction and generous word.

    12:08 on 23 May 2017

  • Independent Thought: 


    I don't see that the proposed changes make things less fair, it seems to me that they are fairer.

    Correct me if I am wrong:-

    1. Before and after anyone who goes into care can lose all their house

    2. Before anyone who gets treated at home got to keep £23K after they would get to keep £100K in their estate.

    3. It is not really an issue of fairness anyway. To inherit off your parents after their death is an unfair thing in itself. You probably enjoyed a better education etc... if your parents are well off; you probably already had an unfair advantage. Inheritance tax is by its nature the fairest of taxes.

    14:40 on 23 May 2017

  • Independent Thought: 

    2. Before anyone who gets treated at home got to keep AT LEAST £23K after they would get to keep AT LEAST £100K in their estate.

    14:41 on 23 May 2017

  • John M.: 

    "To inherit off your parents after their death is an unfair thing in itself"

    "Inheritance tax is by its nature the fairest of taxes."

    Congratulations, IT, you take the prize for the silliest comments so far.

    14:58 on 23 May 2017

  • Independent Thought: 

    John M. Take the ball(idea), not the man! Oh yes. and, as you actually had no ideas in your riposte, I'd like to add that your was the most vacuous of all criticisms I've had for a while.

    16:33 on 23 May 2017

  • Independent Thought: 

    1. Before and after anyone who goes into care can lose all their house > I understand it is everyone (whether in care or not) now gets to keep at least £100K in their estate, and there will be a cap at some level yet to be agreed.

    19:55 on 24 May 2017

  • Cynical Investor2: 

    That will cause a revolt. Sounds more like a Socialist Policy

    20:23 on 24 May 2017

  • Independent Thought: 

    "fair ... Treating people equally without favouritism or discrimination.

    ‘the group has achieved fair and equal representation for all its members’

    ‘a fairer distribution of wealth’ "

    https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/fair Can you name a fairer tax than inheritance tax?

    21:13 on 24 May 2017

  • Independent Thought: 

    Can you name a fairer tax than inheritance tax?

    21:14 on 24 May 2017

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