Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Tory social care "poll tax" will only help the wealthy - Lamb

Serious concerns have been raised about Conservative plans for an £8,000 payment for residential care after figures released today by the Liberal Democrats have revealed that 3.5m pensioner households (66%) do not have assets of £8,000 excluding their homes.

The figures undermine Conservative claims that their plans would enable older people to pass their homes on to their children as two-thirds of pensioner households would have to sell or release equity from their homes to pay for the private insurance scheme.

63% of pensioner couple households (1.4m) do not have non-housing assets of £16,000 (cost of insurance to cover both pensioners); 71% of single female pensioner households (1.6m) do not have non-housing assets of £8,000; and 64% of single male pensioner households (600,000) do not have non-housing assets of £8,000

Commenting, Liberal Democrat Shadow Health Secretary, Norman Lamb said:

The reality is that Conservative social care plans are unworkable, unfair and unaffordable for the majority of pensioners in this country and do nothing to pay for the costs of care at home.


This is basically a poll tax and many people on modest means will be wondering how the Tories could think it's fair that they should pay the same amount for care as multi-millionaires.


David Cameron needs to start being honest with older voters. Most couples don't have a spare £16,000 to cover an insurance premium and it's incredibly dishonest to say this will stop people from having to sell their homes to pay for care.


The Tories need to explain how they're going to get the numbers to add up on this plan especially as the private insurance market has failed to get people interested. Perhaps this is yet another example where the Tories need a little help when it comes to using a calculator.

Whoever wins the next election cannot avoid the fact that we're facing a crisis in funding for care. What we need is a long-term solution which is both fair and affordable in the long-term.



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