Long Grass?

So, Theresa, thanks for that. You got us all giddy about a change in the rules that would actually have helped us out. The proposal to raise the current safety net from £23,250 to £100,000 has been reduced form a manifesto promise to a consultation. No further details are available at this stage and there are no indications of the timing. The normal process involves the release of a green paper, a three-month consultation period, followed by at least three months of government review, before the government give their feedback in a policy paper. Yawn. That sounds like ‘long grass’ to me.

It does not seem that long since the Dilnot review, published in 2011, was introduced in watered down form in the Care Act 2014, the financial side of which was then not implemented as expected in 2016 but was instead deferred to 2020. In the meantime, Theresa threw new promises into the mix, reduced now to a consultation, and so where does that leave the Care Act?  This whole area of the law is a mess.

The number of people aged 75 and over is expected to increase by 70% between 2015 and 2035. How are we going to afford that? I will be nearly 70 in 2035 (I hope). Who is going to pay for us all?

If we have all the money, should we pay for ourselves? But we have paid all that Tax and National Insurance. And then when we need it, we won’t qualify for care if it is means tested. If we are in the unfortunate position of having no assets, the state should pick up our bill. But is that not a disincentive to saving for retirement, or does it not encourage judicious planning to ring fence those assets with an eye on having our cake and eating it?  It’s enough to drive you to distraction!

The government also abandoned plans to drop the triple lock on state pensions and is not going ahead with means testing the winter fuel allowance which were also set out in the manifesto.

So, where is all the money going to come from? These are decisions I would not like to have to make as I can see all sides of the argument. Fortunately, I don’t have to. I am a private client lawyer which means my job is to worry about my clients and what is in their best interests. Everyone’s aims and ideals differ but it is quite rare for me to come across clients who are happy to pay for everything in their later years and then give them a bill on what’s left.

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