Pensioners fear continual 'tinkering' with care system
Pensioners have accused the Government’s of merely tinkering with social care funding reform and creating a “complete mess”.
The National Pensioners’ Convention says the new plan lacks sufficient funding to tackle the problems that pensioners face.
Setting a cap on care costs of £75,000 would benefit just one in ten older people requiring that amount of care, while the vast majority who own their own homes would still be faced with hefty bills.
The Government believes that its social care reforms can be funded through a combination of a freeze on inheritance tax and through planned changes to the state second pension scheme, but the NPC believes these measures will not raise enough to make any real difference to the system.
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Western region secretary Bob Jones, of Cheltenham, said: “This whole care policy seems a complete mess. People are living much longer for many years, but often in poor shape. I don’t think any party has any idea what to do. I think the present Government expects to lose the 2015 election and then it will be Labour's problem.
Dot Gibson, NPC general secretary, said: “Social care needs urgent and radical reform, but these proposals simply tinker at the edges.
The current system is hampered by means-testing, a postcode lottery of charges, a rationing of services, and poor standards, and nothing in the plan will address any of these concerns. The Government needs to be much braver and bolder with its plans for reform – otherwise in a few years’ time we’ll be back again having another look at the issue.”
The Government hopes that the private insurance industry will step in to provide people with products that will help them save towards their £75,000 costs.
The NPC believes it would be fairer to pool the risk by merging health and social care, to create a truly integrated system, funded through general taxation, like the NHS.
The cost of care in residential or nursing homes will be capped at £75,000 from April 2017 but will not include general living costs, estimated to be around £12,000 a year.
Those with income and/or assets, including property, of more than £123,000 will have to pay the full £75,000 care costs before they receive any state support.
Those with between £17,500 and £123,000 will pay a proportion of the £75,000.
Only those with less than £17,500 will have all their care costs covered by the state
The funding for the Government proposals will come from a freeze on inheritance tax and changes to the state second pension.