I am baffled by the Conservative’s manifesto pledge on Social Care.
Currently if you need social care and have more than £23,000 in the bank you will need to pay for it yourself – but the amount you pay is capped at a maximum of £72,000. Crucially, unless you need to move into a nursing home the value of your home is not taken into account.
Under the current proposals outlined in the Conservative manifesto you will need more than £100,000 before you start paying for care. This will mean a lot of people won’t need to pay for their care anymore – but importantly the value of your house will be included in the assessment and the cap has been removed and replaced with a commitment to leave you with £100,000.
In practice this means anyone with their own home will pay for their care regardless of how much money they have in the bank and will potentially have to use all of their assets except £100,000. Someone living in a house valued at £250,000 would potentially have to pay £150,000 plus any other assets or savings they may have. This represents a huge change in policy and seems to directly attack those who have worked hard to save and invested in buying their own home. I really don’t understand what the Conservatives are trying to achieve.
I understand the need to find funding for Adult Social Care. As a Northamptonshire County Councillor I understand the issues only too well. Locally we have an ageing population and a growing need for care with more and more people needing specialist (expensive) care for things like dementia.
The government clearly haven’t got a clue what to do to address the current funding crises and their recent Adult Social Care precept, which was just an excuse to put up Council Tax bills, showed this. But this latest announcement has left me baffled. They seem to be targeting the very people that you would have expected them to try to get to vote for them, and this simplistic sledge-hammer approach looks as though it has been born out of desperation rather than any long-term planned approach.
Labour’s plans on the other hand will be to establish a long overdue National Care Service based on the principles of the Ethical Care Charter already adopted by several progressive councils around the country, along with and extra £8 billion investment of public funding.
This will go a long way to deal with the immediate crisis, and among other things do away with the controversial 15 minute care visits. I suspect that this whole issue will still need further investment and a more strategically managed approach over the years to come, but the commitment to share responsibilities with the NHS nationally is long overdue and even the Conservative-led Northants County Council recently agreed that a more integrated national approach was the way forward.