I seem to be completely out of sympathy with every commentator in the debate on care for the elderly, which is today’s mainstream news agenda. The Dilmot report recommends that the asset level you can have before you start getting charged for residential care, is raised substantially to £100,000. I don’t have a major problem with that.
But it also suggests that the total amount you have to pay for residential care is capped, at £35,000. That means that someone with assets of £90,000 would pay nothing, someone with assets with £110,000 would pay £10,000, someone with assets of £135,000 would pay £35,000 and someone with assets of £10,000,000,000 would pay £35,000. What a stupid proposal.
I am totally out of sympathy with the whole concept. Am I entirely callous? It seems to me perfectly natural, that in your childhood years you are a net cost. Then you have economically active years where you accumulate a certain amount of wealth. Eventually you have economically inactive years when you are a net cost again, and your accumulated wealth dissipates. Then you die.
Why on earth try to adapt the system so you die with money? What are you going to do with it when you are dead? It is crazy. Why should taxpayers fund a system of state paid care, so that people can pass on unearned (by the recipient) wealth to their children?
I favour without any quibble or reservation, care provided fot the elderly so that everybody – no matter how poor – has dignity in life right until the end. But I also believe that those who can pay for it, should. That “callous” system also contains an economic incentive to those wanting to get their hands on inherited wealth, to look after their parents themselves rather than pack them into a battery farm.
As far as I can see, this proposal that taxpayers shell out untold billions to protect inherited wealth, is a scam to protect our ludicrously overpriced housing market.