Boris Johnson has committed to give “every older person the dignity and security they deserve” by solving the care crisis “once and for all”.
I wonder. After 12 government reviews in 20 years on reforming social care and its funding, we are still where we are with a creaky system hitting those with little funds and lower value houses the worst.
Something has to change. We see families having to use their life savings for a few years in care and it is not fair. In wealthier areas, where house values are 10 times or more what they are here, the impact is not so great.
Will Boris deliver? Reports (see yesterday’s Independent) suggest that his idea is unlikely to be centrally funded through tax increases, more likely a state-backed, voluntary saving scheme over 40s.
It won’t work if it is voluntary and many people, especially the lower paid, would be unable to save enough to cover their care costs in later life. We will end up back where we started with house sales covering the shortfall.
Bits of the 2014 Care Act that were never implemented put a cap on what people would pay towards their care costs but at roughly £100,000, it was still a high cap if you consider house prices in Furness and those in care still had to pay the ‘hotel’ element. I think it needs more radical reform than that. Making it all free would mean a big hike in tax and that is not on Boris’s agenda.
So, whilst free long terms care for all is a distant dot on the horizon, I think we all need to keep planning for those rainy days.