Monday, 4 July 2011

Care Cap

From time to time the media publish shock-horror stories that people are having to sell their houses in order to fund their elderly care. I can see a difficulty if one partner not needing care still lives in a house which is too small to "downsize" from and there are no available council flats, but otherwise what's the problem?

I can see no reason why the state should pay for someone's elderly care over and above £35 000, as proposed by the Dilnot Commission, so that the rest of their personal wealth can be passed on to buy advantages for their children and grandchildren, or even the Battersea Dogs' Home. The concept is even more absurd when we recognise that the wealth contained in a house is largely unearned. My own house has increased in monetary value, through no effort of mine, by 600% since I bought it 25 years ago. If some or all of that accrued value is needed to pay for my personal care in my latter days, so be it.

The real difficulty in this area is to distinguish between medial care, which should be free at the point of use as part of the NHS, and personal care, which, in my view, should be paid for by those who can afford it.

In a related area, I see no reason why the rise in value of a "principal private residence" should be free of capital gains tax. If it were not, that could help stabilize the property market and slow down the rise in property values, a major cause of inequality.

Once again our society seems to be going out of its way to cosset the "haves" whilst continuing to hound the "have-nots."

1 comment:

  1. Yes, I don't see why the cap should be a fixed sum. If there is to be a cap why not a straight percentage, or possibly better, graduated like income tax?