Theresa May has said her planned reforms to social care will end the torment of the elderly having to ‘worry that their savings might whittle down to nothing’. The Tory manifesto promises to quadruple to £100,000 the amount of wealth a person can have before they have to pay for care.
And it lays out plans to ensure that no one will have to sell their home to pay to be looked after. But the plans have sparked some criticism as more people will have to pay for home based care. Property will be included in the calculation of a person’s wealth, meaning many face losing their home after they die to cover the costs of their care rather than being able to pass or down to their children.
The PM has insisted the policy is fairer as it protects the elderly against the fear that they will lose everything to pay for their care. She told The Times: ‘You have a situation where two widows are living side by side in homes of the same value.
‘One of them [has] saved up all their life and has over £23,000 in savings, now finds that they need care in a home and has to pay for that because they are above the current threshold.
‘Then there is [the widow] next door who has perhaps lived the good life and doesn’t have those savings and gets in for free. ‘And I think we are equalising home and residential calculations and setting the threshold four times higher at £100,000.
‘We are being fair to those who have saved over time.’
Mrs May said the policy gives the elderly greater security by dramatically increasing the amount of wealth that is protected.
She said: ‘At the moment you have a situation where people worry that they are not going to be able to pay for that domiciliary care, they worry that their savings might whittle down to nothing. ‘What we are doing is offering them protection against that £100,000 threshold, ensuring that they are not going to have to pay while they are alive but that they will have that protection.’
The plans are part of the PM’s tough love manifesto, launched on Thursday in Halifax. Contrasting her approach to the spending splurge promised by Jeremy Corbyn, Mrs May said she was not afraid to make the hard choices which lie ahead.
In contrast, Labour’s left-wing leader has threatened to hit Britain with a £50billion tax bombshell. The move would hike the tax burdens to its highest since the 1940s. While Mr Corbyn and his allies also want to increase borrowing, renationalise rail, water and energy and bring in Soviet-style wage caps.