Paying for care homes

Mrs May rushed out social care proposals in her 2017 General Election Manifesto, only to have to drop them during the course of the Election campaign as they were unpopular. The new government has also promised to produce proposals which will benefit from study of what went wrong with the May ideas.

It is first important to understand the tri partisan settlement we have lived under for many years over social care. The political parties have all agreed that healthcare must be free at the point of need for all, including elderly people requiring a lot of expensive care towards the end of their lives. They have also agreed that living costs are to be paid where possible by the people concerned. In particular, if an elderly person needs to be looked after in a care home then the hotel costs of providing a room with meals and service  falls to them if they have an income to cover it or if they have capital they can draw on.

The most contentious part of the current settlement for some is the fact that an elderly person needs to sell their home when they move into the care home and spend the capital from their home sale on the hotel costs of the care home. If someone does not have any capital then the state provides the care home place as well as the healthcare at taxpayer expense. Some say this is a tax on the thrifty and prudent. Others say the  elderly person no longer needs their former  home , so why shouldn’t its value be treated like all their other capital? Should taxpayers pay the care home costs of millionaires, for example? If not, at what level of capital should the state take over and pay for the provision? If only one person from an elderly couple needs to move into a care home then of course the couple’s home remains untaxed and available for the other person living there.

My elderly parents reached the point where they needed to move into a care home to be looked after, and wanted to do so. I helped them sell their two bedroom flat so they could afford a good quality care home. I did not think I had any right to inherit their flat and did not disagree with the policy that said that  money from the sale of their home had to be used for their living costs in the care home.

Do you think there should be a new deal on this matter? What is a fair solution over the costs of living for elderly people, when some elderly people have saved and have capital and others did not?

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  1. Pominoz
    Posted August 14, 2019 at 5:21 am | Permalink

    Sir John,

    You have focussed on a most sensitive and complex subject today. It is not unreasonable for an old person with assets to be asked to contribute to their old-age care. The real issue is that knowledge of the generous treatment afforded to those without assets may well encourage the less scrupulous to ‘spend, spend, spend’, knowing that they can have a great time now and the State will pick up the tab later.

    It will take someone of much greater intellect than I to come up with the solution to this conundrum. Perhaps this could be a task for, say, Hammond or Bercow who will no doubt have much less to occupy their minds once Brexit has been delivered. I focus on these two in particular because I read that Hammond is saying a WTO Brexit would be a betrayal of the referendum result and Bercow is saying it is important to display ‘intellectual flexibility’ and that he will do all he can to prevent any prorogue of Parliament.

    Sounds very much like the pair of them, along with others, think that only their perceived superior intellect can deliver the ‘right’ result.

    What utter arrogance. Let them apply that superior intellect to solving the age-care problem. I suspect, however, that such trivialities are beneath them, so I do hope they get their come-uppance when Brexit is finally settled.

    • Anonymous
      Posted August 14, 2019 at 6:03 am | Permalink

      “to ‘spend, spend, spend’, knowing that they can have a great time now and the State will pick up the tab later.”

      Actually, in a care home, Mr Prudent ends up paying twice the cost of his stay in order to subsidise Mr Profligate in the bed next to him. The State only pays part of it.

      • Hope
        Posted August 14, 2019 at 8:25 am | Permalink

        The UK pays our taxes to the sum of £15.1 billion overseas aid, £3.7 billion European Development Fund- its overseas aid equivalent- each year would go a long way to pay for elderly care each year. £19 billion borrowed to give away while being told there is no money for the prudent, savers to help them while wasters provided a house all their lives and elderly care. Plenty of well paid in a council houses!

        Your govt has lied to us previously on three occasions to get elected, what is different now?

      • Hope
        Posted August 14, 2019 at 8:56 am | Permalink

        The way councils assess people for Social care against compulsory care is nothing short of disgusting. The two determine whether payment should be sought. When it is clear people through medical conditions need care the councils still seek to force every penny from them by declaring they have a social care need.

        Off topic- Hammond trying to grab a headline when it is clear his lack of integrity was and is the issue, not others as he would lead us to believe. We voted leave, not servitude or colony status under Mayhab. Cameron made clear what Leave meant, that does fit with Mayhabs servitude plan. Cameron last spoke in parliament on it 15/06/2016. He has betrayed voters, party and govt! Manifesto and Withdrwal Act clearly stated no deal as an option.

        • Andy
          Posted August 14, 2019 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

          Actually it’s worse than that. Even if a person is on NHS Continuing Healthcare you soon discover that the NHS does not pay the full Care Home fees, but ‘band’ what it will pay thus forcing either the person, or their relatives if they don’t have the assets, to pay a ‘top up’ to the Care Home.

          The way the elderly are treated in this country by the NHS and Local Authorities is a disgrace. The system is complex and confusing, intentionally so, and navigating the system is almost impossible. And you soon discover, when you question things, how arrogant and defensive the NHS can be.

          • Iain Gill
            Posted August 14, 2019 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

            The NHS is totally unaccountable, routinely breaks its own rules, lies to MP’s.

            On this and many other matters.

          • L Jones
            Posted August 15, 2019 at 3:04 am | Permalink

            You must be the ‘Real Andy’ as you are talking sense.
            Please re-name yourself as your moniker has been hijacked by a nitwit who is continually allowed to post offensive tripe.

      • bigneil
        Posted August 14, 2019 at 9:17 am | Permalink

        And Mr Prudent also ends up paying for all the Grandparents brought in by opening the borders to all and sundry from Anywhere. Get into the UK after paying nothing – and the rest is free. Only an hour ago, on the Radio, ” People in poorer areas can wait over 3 weeks to get a doctors appointment” – – Anything to do with those poorer areas becoming immigrant ghettoes, where translators have to be used ( more cost to us ) and therefore, as everything has to be said multiple times, cost available appointment time for the people whose taxes actually pay for the NHS.

        All clearly deliberate.

        • Hope
          Posted August 14, 2019 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

          EU citizens can currently come here at any time in their life and be treated exactly same as UK citizens!

          Please Tell me Boris has not agreed to this under his rights to EU citizens.

          Live and work here yes, no to any right to access ECJ, no other family members allowed whether born or not. Stop all benefits to EU children who do not live here and have never set foot here as Cameron promised years ago! UK public told they earn too much to get child allowance, but it is okay to give away our taxes to EU children who have never been here!

          Why do MPs not understand the anger in the real world. Humanitarian aid is one thing, pissing it down the drain to the underserving, i.e. Uganda president for a Lear jet or exotic fish mating programmes by the EU, another.

          Unfortunately JR and other virtue signalling wasting MPs like Mayhab appear unable to get their head around the fact that the public objects to providing for all foreigners whether in the UK or abroad through two overseas aid hand outs but expect us to accept we should sell our homes to pay for own care when we have paid for others all our lives! Whilst having the highest taxes for fifty years!

          I think it has become clear Hammond needs medical help. His memory is so awful he cannot remember what he said or voted for previously or he is an absolute liar.

      • Bob
        Posted August 14, 2019 at 10:11 am | Permalink


        If someone stays in a hotel, they don’t expect to pay twice the room rate to subsidise someone who can’t afford to stay there.

        Surely paying your own way should mean paying your own way, not someone elses? If the govt want to provide free care for certain people, then it should be from general taxation and not a levy on those being forced to sell their family home to fund themselves?

        Our host says I did not think I had any right to inherit their flat and did not disagree with the policy that said that money from the sale of their home had to be used for their living costs in the care home. – Did he realise that the proceeds of the sale of their flat would also be used to subsidise non payers?

        How can we afford to spend £14 billion on overseas aid if we cannot provide care for our own elderly?

        Sorry Mr Redwood, you won’t be winning any ex-Tories like myself back with your re distributive socialist policies.

        • Fedupsoutherner
          Posted August 14, 2019 at 9:59 pm | Permalink

          Bob and others. I and many others I speak to are sick of our governments handing out billions to foreigners while our elderly who have paid in all their lives are left on the scrap heap. They have just shown a lady in her nineties living at home on her own who is nearly blind and so finds cooking for herself difficult. At the moment the council provide one hot meal a day for her delivered to her home. This might stop soon because of lack of money. It is utterly disgraceful that we are not providing for the elderly. Successive governments have known we would have many elderly to care for but have done no planning for it. Our hosts views on foreign aid etc do not sit well with me or my friends. I am seriously fed up with the Tory party and can’t see myself voting for them even if we do get brexit. Tory policies are a mess. The Tory party is a mess. It needs sorting big time.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted August 14, 2019 at 6:56 am | Permalink

      Do not put Hammond in charge of anything he is hopeless. He has undermined the EU negotiation by failing to fund proper leave preparations and given us the highest, most complex and most idiotic tax system for 50 years.

      Of course people might be more willing to fund their own care if they were not taxed to death all their lives (and lost another 40% of their assets on death). The prudent endlessly expected to subsidise the feckless and then expected to pay for their own care too.

      the highest taxes fro 50 years and yet we still have dire and declining public service everywhere plus new charges for these “services” like the new death certificate charges and Hammond’s probate “tax” for example.

      Over two weeks just to see a GP on average it seems, despite this level of taxation. Yet government waste and misdirection is everywhere you care look.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted August 14, 2019 at 8:37 am | Permalink

        Yet another new tax proposed it seems:-

        Drivers who sit with engines idling could be fined instantly under government plans!

        • shred
          Posted August 14, 2019 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

          There were young ‘conservatives’ in a ‘think’ tank, or perhaps a dimwit pit, called Bright Blue recommending that worthy citizens inform on drivers leaving their engines on while stooped for a while, waiting no doubt at traffic lights or in government induced jams, and then receive a share of the fine. They think we are going to die if engine particulates or a bit of NO2 is inhaled and that little Greta is right and we’re about to go extinct.. This sounds more like Red Guards or the Stazi than Britain. How can anyone with any sense or conservative vote for a party with these people in it and where do they get their money from?

        • stred
          Posted August 14, 2019 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

          There were young ‘conservatives’ in a ‘think’ tank, or perhaps a dimwit pit, called Bright Blue recommending that worthy citizens inform on drivers leaving their engines on while stooped for a while, waiting no doubt at traffic lights or in government induced jams, and then receive a share of the fine. They think we are going to die if engine particulates or a bit of NO2 is inhaled and that little Greta is right and we’re about to go extinct.. This sounds more like Red Guards or the Stazi than Britain. How can anyone with any sense or conservative vote for a party with these people in it and where do they get their money from?

      • Bob
        Posted August 14, 2019 at 9:18 am | Permalink


        “He has undermined the EU negotiation by failing to fund proper leave preparations…”

        Mr Hammond spent £4.2 billion preparing for a WTO outcome. He was elected on a manifesto which stated that “no deal is better than a bad deal”.

        For some reason the BBC’s Nick Robinson didn’t see fit to query the reason for Hammond’s U-turn.

        In the R4 interview this morning Mr Hammond sounded more like a spokesman for Brussels.

    • Newmania
      Posted August 14, 2019 at 7:00 am | Permalink

      Interesting that you say ” The State”.It is in fact the working population who pick up the tab and the problem is that the ratio between the old and dependent and working people has become increasingly problematical albeit for the good reason that people are living for longer.
      When the old are not only placing vast burdens on the young in terms of their care but also voting for the young to live in a poorer country with less opportunity you can see how resentment piles on resentment ..and then there is housing ….
      I have sometimes wondered if those who contribute nothing should actually have equal voting rights with those who do not
      Its an idle thought but the fact that democracy can be legalised theft is an old problem that exercised minds considerably during the period of franchise reform in the 19th century . It is not an altogether trivial problem

      • Lifelogic
        Posted August 14, 2019 at 7:44 am | Permalink

        Older people per se are not the problem. It is the older people who have not saved or made provision for their old age. But they were encouraged by the government, the tax system, the NHS and the benefit system not to be prudent and be feckless – so many did exactly that.

        It is the system that is mainly at fault. The feckless are being rational given the daft system that pertains.

        • Richard1
          Posted August 14, 2019 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

          but very often even they have paid taxes + NI which carried an implicit promise of a pension. it would have been better if the schemes had been funded, eg as the Swedish pensions are. but the argument the old are an unfair burden on the young is mostly bogus, albeit not in all instances.

          one might as well argue that the sick are a burden on the healthy!

        • Mitchel
          Posted August 14, 2019 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

          A ponzi economy run on consumption and money printing,rather than genuine wealth creation,driven by the corporate/banking interests that control western governments.

          I believe we living through the start of a collapse as assuredly as if we were living in the western Roman Empire in it’s final decades.And I don’t believe there’s anything we can do about it.

      • Richard1
        Posted August 14, 2019 at 8:25 am | Permalink

        A trivial analysis. Plenty of old people are not putting any burden at all on the young. They are living off savings and pensions they have earned and often providing all sorts of support, financial assistance and investment for younger people and the economy generally.

        I suggest we stick with democracy. But the point you raise is one we see more and more as the left can’t get its way through democracy. The ridiculous hysterics of extinction rebellion for example want to replace parliament with an appointed assembly of people like them. A Soviet you might call it.

        • Mitchel
          Posted August 14, 2019 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

          Li’l Greta is no Lenin but seeing her embark on her carbon neutral journey across the Atlantic made me think of Lenin boarding “that” train in Zurich,telling his followers:

          “We have before us a struggle of exceptional gravity and harshness.Let us go into battle fully conscious of the responsibility we are taking.We know what we want to do.The law of history imposes our leadership,because it is through us that the proletariat speaks.”

      • Narrow Shoulders
        Posted August 14, 2019 at 10:07 am | Permalink

        Interesting perspective @new

        You are right that the state only has money taken from others

        However many of your musings here suggest you would like the state to spend more of others’ money but on your projects

        Philanthropy is the preserve of the rich I am afraid.

      • NickC
        Posted August 14, 2019 at 11:33 am | Permalink

        Newmania, Like Andy you have jumped on the – particularly Remain – bandwagon of denigrating pensioners based on fake propaganda. The reality is that the young are an enormous burden on society too, via the NHS and state education. Are we going to get rid of the young?

        According to the ONS, 21% of the population is 18 years or under, and 18% is 65 or over. Apart from board and lodging paid for by parents (itself an enormous cost) it is likely the state spends more on young people (up to 21 years) than we do on pensioners, given that care home costs usually come from the pensioners savings and home (paid for whilst working).

        • Newmania
          Posted August 15, 2019 at 5:02 am | Permalink

          One day you will say something that is not absurd ,but , in the words of Diana Ross ” I`m still waiting… ”
          The population is aging, not younging , verstehen sie ? 70% UK population growth between 2014 and 2039 will be in the over 60, and sadly I will be one of them.
          I am not against the old but it is a societal injustice to which Brexit has added increased rancour . The answer is partly for the old to work for longer, retrain for which the state can provide support , (which is the answer I have arranged for myself , I anticipate working well into my 70s )
          Oliver Letwin published an excellent summary “Future of an aging population” to which I would direct you for information on the subject

          • NickC
            Posted August 15, 2019 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

            Newmania, Whether the population is “ageing” is irrelevant. The facts are as I stated – there are more young people than pensioners. Young people are subsidised, just as pensioners are, by workers in the 21 – 67 age group. But you leave that important fact out when you claim:

            When the old are not only placing vast burdens on the young in terms of their care but also voting for the young to live in a poorer country … you can see how resentment piles on resentment …“.

            That is false in all respects. “Vast burdens” are not placed on the “young”. The young are subsidised too. The “old” did not vote to make the country “poorer”, but to enhance freedom and prosperity. “Resentment” has been stoked by your fake news, not by the reality that “subsidy” always occurs at the beginning and end of life for everyone.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted August 14, 2019 at 7:01 am | Permalink

      Well, if the Tories succeed in scrapping the Human Rights Act, then people will lose the Right To Peaceful Enjoyment Of Possessions.

      That would mean that the matter would be taken out of their hands, and spouses could be thrown out of their homes by the State, and these be sold to pay for the other’s care.

      It would also mean that the Receivers could swipe your occupational pension pot to defray creditors if you employer went bust, as they used to do. You may remember notably, the car workers losing theirs before that Act. There would be much more too.

      That is why they want rid of it, I think. It is little to do with deporting nasty people, which the country can do anyway.

      Reply Parliament would not vote for the nasty measures you mention

      • Lifelogic
        Posted August 14, 2019 at 7:46 am | Permalink

        Brown, Osborne and Hammond have already done enough swiping of people’s pension pots!

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted August 14, 2019 at 10:55 am | Permalink

          Gordon Brown introduced a dividend tax for managed pension funds, just as many countries have.

          It cost an estimated average of less than a hundred pounds per beneficiary per year, to be met by increased employee and employer contributions.

          In fact it helped many funds, because they changed their composition away from shares, protecting them from the 2008 crash.

          The Tories have never reversed it, and it would make little difference to pensions if they did.

          People went into BTL etc. because of appalling annuity rates, and not because of that. Incidentally, gold is heading steadily towards below the price at which his government sold it too.

          People used to lose their pensions entirely in bankruptcies pre-Human Rights Act on the other hand.

          • NickC
            Posted August 14, 2019 at 11:44 am | Permalink

            Martin, “Gold is heading steadily towards below the price at which” Gordon Brown sold it. Total bunk. Gold is heading steadily upwards. Brown sold about 395 tons of gold at an average price of c$275 an ounce. The current price is $1500 an ounce.

          • Lifelogic
            Posted August 14, 2019 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

            He sold at an average price of $275 and today it is $ 1,516.33? Am I missing something – even allowing for 20 years of interest savings?

          • Mitchel
            Posted August 14, 2019 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

            I don’t understand what you are saying about Brown and the sale of the UK gold reserve-it was at a bottom ($282) when he made the announcement in 1999;it’s now above $1500,having been $1900+ inbetween.In £ terms it’s probably quite close to that previous $ high.

          • Edward2
            Posted August 14, 2019 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

            Do you understand the effect of compound interest Martin?
            Multiply your “average of less than a hundred pounds per beneficiary per year” by the millions if pension fund members then multiply that by 40 plus years and then consider the loss to the accumulating fund.
            It is a huge sum.
            My company pension was reduced by about half.
            The decision by Brown was a disaster for millions of people in company pension funds.

          • miami.mode
            Posted August 14, 2019 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

            It must have got lost in translation to Cardiff, but the price of gold today is between 5 and 6 times that achieved by Gordon Brown.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted August 14, 2019 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

            Sorry about the gold comment – it was part of a re-use of one on HRA, but from when gold was on a sustained downhill trajectory.

            If Brown’s dividend tax is so harmful, though then why did the coalition and the Tories not reverse it?

            It actually helped my fund, for the reasons I gave.

          • Richard1
            Posted August 15, 2019 at 6:57 am | Permalink

            We may discount your future posts due to the extraordinary falsehood you have posted here on the gold price. Brown sold at a 40 year low. Gold is over 5x the price at which he sold!

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted August 15, 2019 at 8:27 am | Permalink

            I have clarified that I re-used a post on HRA, that accidentally included a remark on gold, which at the time had been declining steadily, but which has since recovered, Richard1.

            But continue to use your weak inductive reasoning as ever by all means.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted August 14, 2019 at 8:08 am | Permalink

        Thank you John.

        Yes, so the people really do need Parliament to protect them from nasty proposals, it appears.

        That would be today’s Parliament, but who can say about another?

        I note that you do not say that your Party would not attempt such a thing, however.

        Once that protection had been removed though, would it not simply be a matter of Local Authorities applying for Court orders anyway?

        Reply I do not support the nasty policies you describe nor does my party

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted August 14, 2019 at 10:50 am | Permalink

          Thank you for your clarification, John, but it is unclear to me whether, after any repeal of the Human Rights Act, further legislation would be necessary to allow local authorities to do as I describe.

          In other words it would not be a matter of its being government or party policy as such, but just a consequence, unintended or otherwise, of repealing the Human Rights Act?

          Reply Were a future government to want to repeal the Human Rights Act( UK law version) it would doubtless tackle the various consequentials in the new legislation!

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted August 14, 2019 at 11:31 am | Permalink

            Thank you again John.

            So the obvious way to avoid “untoward or unintended consequences” would be to leave it alone, wouldn’t it?

            What, exactly are the specific problems with the existing Act?

            Would it not be easiest simply to amend those specific points, rather than to deprive people of all fourteen of their existing protections and then to have to legislate for all the possible consequences of that?

            This is what makes people rightly suspicious, and it is no doubt a reason why repeal plans have always been shelved. Key people did not want exactly this discussion to take place in public?

        • NickC
          Posted August 14, 2019 at 11:50 am | Permalink

          Martin, You should be more worried about the EU taking away your rights, if we remained in the EU. As an “EU citizen” you cannot hold your EU government to account. But as a UK citizen you can hold your UK government to account (assuming democracy survives continuity Remain). You can have neither guarantees nor assurances from your EU government and you are helpless in the face of EU power over you.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted August 14, 2019 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

            The supreme power in the European Union is the Council of the twenty-eight leaders.

            The Commission answers to them. The UK has an unelected Law Commission too. It is not the Government.

            In any case, this so-called seventy-five percent of UK law that is supposedly made in Brussels does not include family and divorce, nor Town and Country Planning. Nor does it cover crime and sentencing. Heath, education and professional standards are outside its remit, as are land, property and inheritance, along with most tax bar VAT. Defence and security are not covered, and nor are electoral matters nor m e d i a reguIation. Driving and parking rules and penalties appear to be for us too, along with employment and trade union matters, except for health and safety.

            It seems to be getting rather hard to find. Surely the Leave campaigns would not misIead anyone though?

            Reply Not true. Most of the areas you cite are subject to EU law e.g. GDPR, corporation tax, environmental planning, regulation of professions and their work etc

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted August 14, 2019 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

            Yes John, many laws can have a bearing on others, and that is as true of European Union law as it is on UK-drafted ones.

            However, the main body of those areas that I mention is the result of UK legislation and case law, not that of the European Union.

            A rule which says that ice cream must not contain significant cyanide does not mean that every aspect of ice cream making and its sale is controlled by the makers of that rule, for instance.

            However, the Leave campaigns have deliberately misled people to make that confusion.

          • bill brown
            Posted August 14, 2019 at 8:23 pm | Permalink


            The EIU has actually shown that the most democratic countries in the World are members of the EU, such as the Scandinavian countries, Germany and the Netherlands, so your nonsense about the EU , potentially taking rights away, just comes across as hollow and not very serious as they are the core EU members

          • Edward2
            Posted August 14, 2019 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

            It continues to amaze me just how misinformed about the EU most remain fans are.
            With huge confidence people like Martin put forward their claims about the EU which are completely wrong time after time.
            Do some research, read the treaties, read the Five Presidents report, listen to what the leaders of the EU are saying us their future ambitions.

          • NickC
            Posted August 15, 2019 at 10:53 am | Permalink

            Martin and Bill Brown, Declaration 17 (Lisbon) states that EU law has primacy. Therefore the EU government is a law unto itself. As the EU government becomes steadily more powerful, the power and independence of the member states diminishes. So your democratic rights diminish.

            The Council of the EU is not the leading power of the EU, the Commission is. New laws are effectively made by a consensus of EU states’ civil servants, guided by Commission eurocrats. The Ministers in the Council merely go along with it, because it is too difficult for one Minister to oppose. That is compounded by most decisions being by QMV. And even without determined EU malignity, there is the law of unintended consequences.

            Your EU rights which you enthuse about are much more precarious than your UK rights. That is simply because you as an individual have no democratic rights to change EU law.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted August 14, 2019 at 8:28 am | Permalink

        People are already deprived of their “Right To Peaceful Enjoyment Of Possessions” (or at least half of them) by tax levels that are so absurdly high and are still increasing by the day as threshold are often not increases. Still just a £325k threshold for IHT and not the £1 million promised.

        It is actually far more than half as taxes are cumulative and you thus have less to invest next year due to the taxes you paid last year. Cumulatively they can easily take more than 90% off you over a lifetime.

        £1,000 growing at say 10% for 30 years returns £17,540 but if taxed at say 50% it only returns £4,320 less than 25%. The government have in effect taken 75% of your return. Plus they pinch more off you by devaluing the currency every year on top and then they want a further 40% IHT off you on death – just for good measure.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted August 14, 2019 at 11:02 am | Permalink

          Do you want to live in a civilised country or not?

          Health, education, security, local services, defence, and infrastructure must be financed somehow.

          Yes, HRA makes provision for taxation, therefore.

          • NickC
            Posted August 14, 2019 at 11:53 am | Permalink

            Martin, I want to live in an independent democratic country, but unfortunately you Remains are destroying both independence and democracy.

          • Lifelogic
            Posted August 14, 2019 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

            I have no problem with taxation but a sensible level is 20-25% of of GDP not nearly 50%. The government is alas not much good at health, education, local service or much else. There is no need for health and education to be rather dire state monopolies. Ones that suffocate fair competition by being funded through taxation.

          • Lifelogic
            Posted August 14, 2019 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

            It would be 25% of a much larger GDP as a result of the lower levels of taxation though.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted August 14, 2019 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

            It strikes me that you’d be happiest not with civilisation, but with Mob Rule and the Ducking Stool.

          • Edward2
            Posted August 14, 2019 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

            You win a prize for the most stupid post of the day Martin.
            Just ridiculous.

      • ian wragg
        Posted August 14, 2019 at 9:46 am | Permalink

        Don’t feed the Brussels troll.

      • BW
        Posted August 14, 2019 at 9:50 am | Permalink

        The Act should be scrapped it is out of date and written to defend prevent another NAZI dictatorship. Great Britain should replace it with are own Bill of Rights which is linked to individual responsibility.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted August 14, 2019 at 11:07 am | Permalink

          Forty-six countries including Russia, Serbia and Turkey are all signatories to ECHR – HRA imports that – and they seem to manage.

          It does not prevent deportation of criminals, as was ruled for Russia quite recently.

          Also Aus, NZ and Canada have Human Rights Acts virtually identical to ours, and no particular problems with them.

          The conduct of the English judiciary might be questionable sometimes however.

          • NickC
            Posted August 14, 2019 at 11:57 am | Permalink

            Martin, You have no assurance that the EU will honour your rights. Why? Because your EU government is not democratically accountable to you. Democracy is not just to positively elect a choice of governments, it is to hold that government accountable afterwards.

          • mancunius
            Posted August 14, 2019 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

            How very reassuring to know that the ECHR’s signatories include by Turkey, Russia, Serbia, Albania, Azerbaijan, Bosnia, Montenegro, Romania, and Ukraine.

            Frankly, we could do a great deal better ourselves, given a decent parliament and some intelligent legal drafting. Not that I’m currently holding my breath for either… 🙂

          • Andy
            Posted August 14, 2019 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

            The Human Rights Act should never have been passed and it is long overdue that we abrogated the ECHR. We have our Common Law tradition and we should defend this and build upon it.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted August 14, 2019 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

            Yes Mancunius, nearly all modern democracies have written constitutions which confer rights on their citizens. These often make those of ECHR look paltry by comparison. France’s is a fair example, and they cannot be removed by a simple parliamentary majority like ours can.

            Of course, the UK is pretty well alone, in having no such constitution.

          • Edward2
            Posted August 14, 2019 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

            Yet the UK has hundreds of years of improvement where today we have the most entrenched rights, freedoms, governance and peace far beyond nations that have a bit of paper where their rights are defined.
            France in my lifetime seems to have been a nation on the edge of protest, riots and strikes.
            I cannot think of a better nation than the UK for rights even if they are undefined.
            Not perfect and capable of further improvement but….

          • NickC
            Posted August 15, 2019 at 10:59 am | Permalink

            Martin, If I were you I would not hold France up as a paragon of human rights given the way President Macron is vindictively and harshly dealing with his Yellow Vest demonstrators.

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted August 14, 2019 at 7:12 am | Permalink

      That is the nub of the matter.
      In the short term, probably Mr or Mrs Profligate should be billed with the cost of the care home, with the government offering loans (think student loans) to repay the care home provider a maximum amount per week during Mr and Mrs Profligate’s lifetime. Who is to say that after 5 years in the care home, paid for by the state, Mrs Profligate won’t win the lottery having bought 20 tickets a week for the past 30 years?
      In the long term, compulsory insurance from around 35 years old up is the solution.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted August 14, 2019 at 8:35 am | Permalink

        “compulsory insurance from around 35 years old up is the solution” – This would end up (in effect) as yet another tax and the government would probably never deliver on the contract.

        We already have income tax, national insurance, compulsory pension saving, VAT, IHT, stamp duty, fuel duty, the green crap taxes on energy, road taxes, council tax, alcohol duty, probate taxes … how many more taxes do we need? Plus the indirect taxation through endless red tape regulations such as planning restrictions, building regs, compliance costs …

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted August 14, 2019 at 11:04 am | Permalink

      Off topic, a video of various Remoaners including Philip Hammond warning that if we voted to leave the EU it could end up with us leaving without a deal:

      Similarly, he knew that when he voted to send the Article 50 letter:

      • Hope
        Posted August 14, 2019 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

        Guido has many video clips of him saying what no deal means, even his view in January 2017 warning the EU that if a good deal was not forthcoming measures would be taken to boost our economy! You cannot draw any other conclusion than he is a fanatical EU twat.

  2. Mark B
    Posted August 14, 2019 at 5:23 am | Permalink

    Good morning

    What happened in the ‘old days’? You know, the ones BEFORE we had care homes. Also. How do they look after their elderly in other, usually less prosperous, countries ?

    It amazes me that, if I was to spend my life spending my money and left nothing for my care in my old age, the State would pay for it. This bit in your Council Tax bill that this government imposed on us. However. If I was to work, save and live in a privately owned property I would have to sell as I would not qualify for State aid. Aid I might add that was built up with my taxes.

    The system does not favour those who work, save, plan and have aspirations. Perhaps if we did we might solve this and many other problems by making people more responsible.

    • agricola
      Posted August 14, 2019 at 6:03 am | Permalink

      In the “Old days” we had family units and were much less prone to move around the country for work and therefore residence. This situation still pertains in Spain , Portugal,Greece and Italy where end of life care is generalky conducted within the family. I would add that even this is changing. The pattern of life dictates what we need in terms of care for the elderly.

    • Anonymous
      Posted August 14, 2019 at 6:07 am | Permalink

      The system does not favour people who get their children to university doing proper degrees that are useful to the country either.

      Both parents and children effectively get taxed to death because of it.

      There are many better ways to get on than doing a degree these days.

      (If you don’t do a proper degree you rarely have to pay for it.)

      Britain rewards all the wrong behaviours.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted August 14, 2019 at 7:10 am | Permalink

        Indeed about 50% of degrees are fairly worthless and certainly not worth anything like the £50K of soft debt you take on and the three years loss of earnings. Where the student does not pay the loan back then other tax payers are forced fund this economic lunacy.

        So Greta is off to the US on an expensive racing yacht to “reduce her carbon footprint”. She is clearly not very good at such calculations if she thinks such a racing yacht reduces C02 (as compared to flying economy on jumbo jet). It must have cost millions to build the Malizia II with a very great deal of energy involved in the process. Plus of course all the energy consumed & used by the crew on the two week(?) trip. Still I hope she enjoys he trip.

        • Anonymous
          Posted August 14, 2019 at 8:18 am | Permalink

          She’s unelected and untouchable. A human shield put in place by hippy power people as they send us back to bicycle and subsitance farming.

          While we’re off topic. BBC at it again.

          R2 about proroguing Parliament – Hammond’s view, then another Remainer’s view in support… I waited the Leave view but it did not come.

          And why do we have so many women reporting on men’s sport ? Are they better at sports journalism or are white boys being discriminated against in journalism ? Is it worth a young lad doing a degree towards this career anymore ?

          • Lifelogic
            Posted August 14, 2019 at 11:03 am | Permalink

            The BBC seem to ensure that every scientist or engineer they interview is female now too. Despite circa 90% of them being male.

        • Pominoz
          Posted August 14, 2019 at 9:49 am | Permalink

          And no details yet as to how she will get back on the return trip

          • Kevin Lohse
            Posted August 14, 2019 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

            Do we care? While I am convinced that the deepest pit of Hell is reserved for the manipulative creatures who are using a child with complex special educational needs to further their anti- human program, the details of their perfidy are of no interest. And what is Gove doing giving the circus around the child credibility ?

          • Fred H
            Posted August 14, 2019 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

            hopefully taken to the americans’ heart – persuaded to stay.

          • Lifelogic
            Posted August 14, 2019 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

            Swim perhaps, fuelled on a diet of porridge and carrots? But even that would probably give more C02 output than a jumbo jet economy seat and it might take her a year or two.

      • JoolsB
        Posted August 14, 2019 at 7:51 am | Permalink

        Exactly we hear Boris wants to import more Scientists and we are constantly told if it wasn’t for foreigners, there would be no NHS when the solution to our misguided useless politicians is staring them in the face. NO FEES as long as you stay and work in this country or in the NHS for a minimum of say 10 years. After all, all those doing their worthless degrees are probably never going to pay their fees back. It seems only those doing worthwhile degrees and whom the country needs will be clobbered by an extra 9 pence in the pound income tax for most of their working lives. (But only if they are English of course.)

        • NickC
          Posted August 14, 2019 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

          JoolsB, You are right. The notion that a country of our size (65.6m officially, 75m+ probably) cannot produce enough doctors, nurses, engineers, etc of our own is totally fatuous.

        • Timaction
          Posted August 14, 2019 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

          Indeed. Race discrimination as the other British Countries get free tuition on the back of the English taxpayer!

      • bigneil
        Posted August 14, 2019 at 9:38 am | Permalink

        ” Britain rewards all the wrong behaviours. ” – absolutely. Foreign criminals come here, illegally or not, commit the most horrific crimes against innocent people, then claim they’ll be persecuted if deported. Judge agrees – criminal gets to stay – well rewarded for his crime. Next, Right to family Life is used – and the criminal gets all his family allowed to come.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted August 14, 2019 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

          ECHR recently ruled for Russia, that the right to a family life does not override that of a country to deport criminals.

          Further claims that it does are erroneous therefore, and judges now err in law if they rule otherwise, it would appear.

          • Edward2
            Posted August 14, 2019 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

            Well maybe in Russia.

    • Bryan Harris
      Posted August 14, 2019 at 6:45 am | Permalink

      That’s really the crux of the money side of this problem.
      Basically the State is trying to avoid financial involvement in managing old age because the establishment see it as too expensive, but they do need to design a system that works and is humane.
      If people have to sell their homes for care then they should get an improved deal – better accommodation / facilities.
      Time for government/private partnership arrangement that allows for this – Lets say the government funds/provides the basic infrastructure, perhaps care homes are run by the private sector, or added on to a government scheme – Private companies would run the added value for those able to pay for it… That way nobody feels cheated.

  3. Lifelogic
    Posted August 14, 2019 at 5:25 am | Permalink

    Only about a fifth of people actually die in care homes the majority die before they need them and many die rather quickly after entering them. I think what most people want is some cap on them. Some insurance or government cover that proptects the homes of the few who need many years of expensive long term care. Cutting in if the bill exceed ways £100K or something. Surely this could be made available some how with people paying into some scheme or insurance policy to spread the risk.

    I see Rudd is at it again already why on earth was she given a job by Boris. Other traitors also in action Hammond in the Times and the appalling Bercow today.

  4. Ian Wragg
    Posted August 14, 2019 at 5:27 am | Permalink

    We have a relatively new problem of recent immigrants bringing their aged relatives over and accessing care. This I know from experience.
    The thrifty are punished and the frivolous are paid for.
    I don’t have a problem paying but object to subsidising council fees.
    Council pays£475 per week. We pay £620 in same home. Wrong.

    • Anonymous
      Posted August 14, 2019 at 6:09 am | Permalink


      Several men I know have married EU wives who bring their relatives over for NHS holidays.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted August 14, 2019 at 9:06 am | Permalink

        Indeed, but I do not blame the individuals that much. They are just using the daft system that pertains. Pertains due to the government’s incompetence and EU laws.

        Laws we hopefully will soon finally escape.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted August 14, 2019 at 9:54 am | Permalink

        Healthcare outcomes are better in many parts of the European Union than they are here, so isn’t that just reciprocation anyway, for the million or so retired British in Spain, and many more elsewhere using the services there?

        Elderly people often need care. Are you suggesting that they should not be allowed to visit?

        In any case, I’ll go through it again.

        According to analysis last year by Oxford Economics, over the duration of their stay, people from other parts of the European Union on average pay seventy-eight thousand pounds more in tax than they cost to the UK.. On the other hand, UK-raised people just about break even. British taxes will have to rise, when our young, fit, ready-educated, productive, fellow Europeans go home. There again, non-EU immigration – that is most of it – is off-topic and irrelevant, since the UK has always had sovereign control over that.

        • NickC
          Posted August 14, 2019 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

          Martin, Apples and oranges. The average UK figures includes the unproductive – c18 years of subsidies for the young, and c14 years for the elderly. The average for fit healthy EU workers as a selected group ought to be higher than the general population average. In fact it ought to be much higher than a measly £2300 a year.

        • Ian Wragg
          Posted August 14, 2019 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

          What you state is factually incorrect. The HoL report stated that immigration is no net benefit to the tax take as factors like defence, education and healthcare are not included.

        • Edward2
          Posted August 14, 2019 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

          Still believe that dodgy report.
          You are easily taken in Martin.
          It isn’t 78k more in tax on average, it says in a lifetime in this country.
          And it doesn’t factor in things like the costs of health education and share of infrastructure costs like roads Police fire services and much more.
          Plainly if your report was correct GDP per capita would be rising rapidly with the extra population but it isn’t
          I think immigration is a benefit to the nation but the figure of £78,000 is ridiculous.

        • Anonymous
          Posted August 14, 2019 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

          Martin. What about Mean and Modal tax ? And the distribution of pressure on services that might mean a Brexit voter gets a different experience of immigration ? I’m sure the average rate of pay is very high in the city but the mean pay is not.

          Our pensioners pay taxes in their chosen countries. The NHS tourists come here under the guise of a family visit and fall ill by pure coincidence.

        • Fedupsoutherner
          Posted August 14, 2019 at 10:16 pm | Permalink

          Martin, retired British people in Spain pay half their taxes in Spain, live there and pay local taxes. They are not just there for free health care. God, some of your posts are ridiculous and argumentative to the point of being stupid.

          • Andy
            Posted August 15, 2019 at 6:33 am | Permalink

            Hopefully the ones who voted for Brexit will be deported from Spain as well. Free movement is a right they loathe – let’s take it away from them.

          • Anonymous
            Posted August 15, 2019 at 10:39 am | Permalink

            I doubt many people who choose to live in the EU are Leavers.

          • NickC
            Posted August 15, 2019 at 11:03 am | Permalink

            Andy, Does that mean you advocate deporting EU citizens from the UK? Or are you just nasty about UK people?

        • dixie
          Posted August 15, 2019 at 6:16 am | Permalink

          @ MiC You are either lazy or lying.

          The UK Gov ONS website has a page entitled “Pensioners in the EU and UK” dated 5 September 2017.

          At that time they state there were around 247,000 British citizens over 65 living in other EU countries excluding Ireland. Of those 121,000 live in Spain.

          Meanwhile 87,000 older EU citizens where living in the UK.

          You have no clue and clearly no inclination to even try to correct that failing.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted August 14, 2019 at 9:02 am | Permalink


  5. Mike Wilson
    Posted August 14, 2019 at 5:33 am | Permalink

    This argument would be a lot simpler if governments of both parties had not masked their incompetence over the last 50 years by allowing regular credit booms. The main reason I want to pass on the capital in my home to my children is because you, Mr. Redwood, have encouraged massive housing price growth. Youngsters today have no chance, compared to my generation. And care homes are ludicrously expensive. It’s cheaper to go on a cruise.

    • Matt Ryan
      Posted August 14, 2019 at 11:21 am | Permalink

      If only old people own houses and the young can’t afford them, what do you imagine happens when the old die?

      Those houses won’t stay expensive forever. It’s a problem that solves itself.

      • Fred H
        Posted August 15, 2019 at 8:46 pm | Permalink

        exept that we allow foreign investment to buy the properties.

    • outsider
      Posted August 14, 2019 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

      Yes Mike, there is a vast gulf between those who want to help “ordinary working people” build up intergenerational wealth and independence, for instance through council house sales, and those who want all but the rich to enter and leave the world with nothing, whether for ideological reasons, for the convenience of orthodox economic models or , like banks, to drum up more business.

      If someone moving permanently into a care home leaves their home empty, it would seem fairer to assume that its annual rental value was part of their available income for means testing. Given advance warning and guidance, the respectable end of the financial services industry should then be able to come up with mechanisms to finance this through family loans, insurance or less drastic forms of equity release.

  6. Lifelogic
    Posted August 14, 2019 at 5:34 am | Permalink

    Baroness Wheatcroft Monday night on LBC:- “I would find it very difficult to campaign for Boris in any election and Hammond did an excellent job putting public finance back on the rails.

    Why on earth are so many so called “Conservatives” such dire foolish and misguided Libdims (at best)? Which “Conservative” PM idiot put such dire lefty into the Lords?

    As to Hammond doing an excellent job he just put up taxes to the highest for 40 years and made them absurdly complex and absurd in general. Also he kept the expensive greencrap energy agenda and continued with the IHT threshold ratting. What he did was counterproductive, damaged the economy, deterred investment, pushed people and businesses overseas and reduced future tax receipts. An excellent job would have been to cut out all the government waste but he did nothing on that at all. A tax borrow and piss down the drain Chancellor.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted August 14, 2019 at 5:47 am | Permalink

      Also by failing to prepare for a no deal Brexit he undermined the EU negotiations completely ensuring that no sensible deal was ever offered. Together with May he left us in the appalling mess we have now, with a high risk of a trip to Corbyn’s Venezuela. Hammond was a complete disaster rather than doing an excellent job.

      “highest taxes for 50 years I meant not 40”.

      • Know-Dice
        Posted August 14, 2019 at 7:37 am | Permalink

        Hammond seems to think that you can go into a negotiation and say to the other party “we won’t ask for that because you will never agree to it”…how did he ever become a rich property developer with a mind-set like that?

        • Lifelogic
          Posted August 14, 2019 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

          Perhaps he has one approach for investing his own money and a totally different one when wasting taxpayers’ money. Politicians and bureaucrats so often do have.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted August 14, 2019 at 7:01 am | Permalink

      Baroness Wheatcroft, whose public reaction to the referendum result was to call for the Lords to delay Brexit until the result could be overturned.

      • outsider
        Posted August 14, 2019 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

        Yes Denis, when the Baroness was Business Editor of The Times, I recall that the then Patience Wheatcroft wrote scathing diatribes against everything EU (Commission, ECB, ECJ etc) on a weekly if not daily basis. Lady Wheatcroft now moves in different circles.

  7. formula57
    Posted August 14, 2019 at 5:38 am | Permalink

    A fair solution is difficult to come by but might include somehow providing not to have a welfare class.

    I saw a scheme aimed at mitigating the wealth takeaway that indicates the sort of manoeuvres to which people will resort. It contemplated the spouse most likely first in need of care home provision selling his/her half share in the marital home to an accommodating third party that would agree to allow occupancy while either spouse lived. The half-share sale proceeds would immediately be gifted to other parties (children et al) with the hope of avoiding claw-back by local authorities (itself possible if care home provision was needed soon thereafter) and perhaps IHT too. Accordingly, when the selling spouse did need a care home, there would be no real property to sell and should the other spouse need same, at least the sold half of the marital home would escape being claimed and the value to others of the remaining half would be diminished by the interest in the property of the third party. I am not certain the scheme works but pushing people to such type of arrangements introduces extra complexity and worry into people’s lives.

    Reply Complex schemes often break tax rules and end in tears

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted August 14, 2019 at 6:19 am | Permalink

      Reply to reply – and the relevant authorities are much more likely to pursue those with assets than they are to question expensive holidays and nice cars or not working over a lifetime that prevented assets being built up.

      The authorities never go after the big boys or the destitute. There is a sweet spot of law abiding middle classes that are there to be squeezed isn’t there Sir John?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted August 14, 2019 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

      Indeed another parasitic job creation scheme for financial planners that often do not work (as the courts so often tend to take the side of the government rather than the person trying to be a bit too clever).

  8. Dominic
    Posted August 14, 2019 at 5:41 am | Permalink

    It’s a debate that’s been had. We know the answer to it. The taxpayer will be hit as is always the case because that’s what politicians decide should happen irrespective of what common sense dictates. Decisions are taken for maximum political benefit

    Encourage self-reliance in all things. Encourage people to reduce their dependency on the State. Encourage and incentivise people to achieve this.

    The Tory party keeps dancing to the tune of Labour. They need to step forward and encourage self-reliance in all things. This will weaken Labour’s cultural project that surreptitiously encourages State dependency which strengthens Labour’s hand when dealing with State dependents

    The cradle to grave culture is a political scam of the left. It isn’t an expression of compassion and social concern but a sinister political plan to promote the interests of the left.

    The aim should always be that the private individual is in control of such matters.

    I would legislate for a compulsory contribution scheme. Force people, over the course of their working lives, to absorb the cost of their own care unless they are unable to do so

    State employees should have the cost of their care deducted from their fat pensions. Private sector workers who finance their own pension and the pensions of State employees will also have to absorb every cost of political cowardice

  9. Nig l
    Posted August 14, 2019 at 5:44 am | Permalink

    If you treated Dementia as an illness which it is and provided the care and support that is needed, I would have no problem with the elderly who find there properties unmanageable through general infirmity having to go into an old persons ‘hotel’ and paying for it if they have the means.

    What I think is disgraceful is in effect the dementia tax you apply on people with assets. These people are subsidising the NHS over and above their life time contribution.

    The rules and what will and what won’t be paid are opaque and relatives have to end up fighting for what is rightfully theirs. I read the other day it took five years to sort out one particular claim.

    Local authorities apart from poor support often with no coordination of services are making it as hard as possible for people at what is a particularly stressful time of their life anyway.

    This is outrageous and you are using the fact that there is a home involved as a smokescreen to cover up the fact that you are refusing to pay for/support people who are ill.

    I also do not believe there is any justification in some of the eye watering lay high charges made by card homes who are profiting from peoples misfortunes and government’s failure to act. It lets its armed forces down and in this respect it’s elderly, both deserve better.

    • NickC
      Posted August 14, 2019 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

      Nig1, Well said.

  10. agricola
    Posted August 14, 2019 at 5:46 am | Permalink

    Whatever scheme you devise it must be the same for everyone. At present we penalise the thrifty and support the profligate.

    It should be a branch of the NHS allowing a smooth transition from one to the other, so ending bed blocking. It should be run to a high standard of clinical excellence and comfort.

    If an individual wishes to choose to complete the process with even higher standards of comfort they should be free to do so at their own expense. Hospices should be funded by the state and not be dependant on charity. Air ambulances should also be part of the NHS and not dependant on charity.

    The millionaires you refer to will choose to see out their days overlooking Lake Garda in comfort.

    To impact on the cost to the NHS and the taxpayer, you should look at what the the NHS should not be doing. IVF in an already overpopulated country. Treating medical tourists who are not British, and have never contributed to our tax system. Pregnancy and HIV are popular reasons for their arrival here. If they choose to fly here they can afford to pay privately for their needs. The UK is not a lifeboat for the rest of the Worlds needs.

    • Shirley
      Posted August 14, 2019 at 6:11 am | Permalink

      Well said Agricola. Unfortunately, it’s too sensible for our Parliament. I despair when I think of times that the NHS pick up the tab for botched plastic surgery, foreigners deliberately taking advantage of the NHS, and other totally unnecessary things while life saving treatments get delayed further and further.

    • Nig l
      Posted August 14, 2019 at 6:21 am | Permalink

      Totally agree on hospices. End of life care in NHS hospitals is appalling, especially at weekends, people deserve better.

      • Alan Jutson
        Posted August 14, 2019 at 8:21 am | Permalink

        Nig 1

        Agree end of Life care in Hospitals can be very dire, agree that care in all Hospices I have seen, and I have seen a few, has been excellent.

        But ever asked a Hospice if they would like to be fully funded by the NHS and work under their rules?
        They will all say no, because then their standards will be forced to drop because staffing levels are entirely different, as are the priorities.

        Sad, but a fact of life.

        Hospices are run simply to give the best care and dignity that can be given to its patients at the end of their lives.
        However I agree they should be State (taxpayer) funded.

    • Cheshire Girl
      Posted August 14, 2019 at 6:43 am | Permalink


      What a brilliant post. I couldn’t agree more. You’ve put it in a nutshell. You should be in Government.!

    • Ian Terry
      Posted August 14, 2019 at 8:31 am | Permalink


      Treating medical tourists who are not British, and have never contributed to our tax system.

      But it is not only the non British. What about the millions in our society that go through their whole life on benefits and tax credits? They get to pensionable age and get a full pension, they require care and the tax payer keeps on paying. Until there is some form of proper checks and balances in place and a recognised down side to living this way of life, you are never going to stop it. Far too much money is wasted upon people who are allowed to work the system. All the time the population keeps growing then more severe regulations have to be passed to even try and get some form of affordability. It will not win votes and that is the reason the status quo remains.

    • J Bush
      Posted August 14, 2019 at 9:15 am | Permalink

      After reading JR’s blog I admit I was at a loss to a solution. My first thought was absolutely no way would I go into a home, given the degrading and terrible physical and mental abuse that occurs in these private ‘care’ homes.

      However, you have suggested an excellent solution. It makes perfect logical sense.

      • Fred H
        Posted August 15, 2019 at 8:44 pm | Permalink

        my own solution will be a bottle of aspirin/codeine and a bottle of single malt. And hope not to be discovered until too late.

    • NickC
      Posted August 14, 2019 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

      Agricola, Well said.

  11. Bryan Harris
    Posted August 14, 2019 at 5:55 am | Permalink

    Care homes are expensive, and perhaps there are better ways of providing adequate support for the elderly.
    Moving from one’s house to a care home should be treated as you described JR, just the same as if you were moving house. However it’s always nice to have some help to make the transition smoother and requires the new agreement / arrangements to be of the highest possible quality and cost effectiveness, but also devoid of scams.
    We need a better approach to managing old age, that allows the elderly to remain a part of a community and not treated like zombies. The old village hospitals concept could be used to house those that need recovery with an attached care home, perhaps, but there is a need to stop isolating old people into a smaller world where they just end up waiting to die.

  12. Anonymous
    Posted August 14, 2019 at 5:58 am | Permalink

    It used to be the case that the children took the stricken parent into their own homes (or formed a joint household using combined wealth.)

    My parents took on my grandmother and my mother did all of her care up until the final few weeks when she was taken into a hospice.

    My own father. We did most of his care in his own home but for the last six months had help from care assistants to clean and toilet him when he was totally bed bound. We did everything else.

    There is a failure in familial care going on. Part of this is because the children are so busy working and are in fear of losing their jobs if they take a break from work. Part of this is because of selfishness and the belief that it’s the state’s job to do all this.

    We could be worse. The Scots don’t have to pay at all and expect the English to pick up the tab.

    • sm
      Posted August 14, 2019 at 9:27 am | Permalink

      There is another modern impediment to family care of the elderly: families are having children later in life, and today’s grandparents (I was one) end up in their 60’s being expected to help out with toddler grandchildren, providing some form of care for the generation upside of themselves now in their 80’s and 90’s, whilst also dealing with the onset of age-related diseases themselves.

  13. Duyfken
    Posted August 14, 2019 at 6:09 am | Permalink

    Possibly a state-sponsored long-term health insurance scheme may be a partial solution, using the services of private life assurance / pension fund providers. Such a scheme would need to be properly funded and secure from thieving government fingers.

    • agricola
      Posted August 14, 2019 at 7:52 am | Permalink

      The state tends to prefer the rob Peter to pay Paul NI approach, but it dosn’t work. Had we, with the foresight of the Norwegians, put aside a portion of North Sea Oil and Gas income to create a social investment fund, we might not be having this discussion. Perhaps when we get around to fracking our energy needs we could have a second shot at getting it right.

      As you point out government don’t think like the rest of us. They prefer tax and spend, then having done it badly it is either more tax or theft where they can find assets.

      • Mitchel
        Posted August 14, 2019 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

        Not just the Norwegians but the Russians and the Saudis too.The Saudis are currently burning through theirs because of their high fiscal breakeven-c$80 per barrell-the Russians continue to add to theirs,with a federal budget that balances at $40.

  14. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted August 14, 2019 at 6:10 am | Permalink

    No Sir John, the most contentious part of the current settlement is that it is not equitable to all. Those with means pay, those without do not.

    I do not see a majority in Parliament voting to withdraw living cost support from those without means (although why they can not live with relatives is unclear) so the only way to make the situation equitable is to provide the same level of living cost support for all and permit those with means to provide top up payment for greater luxury or increased support.

    The family home and inheritance argument is a non sequitur. Inheritance could be spent on top ups once the basic costs that should be provided to all have been paid from tax monies that those with assets are likely to have contributed more to over the years.

    Any proposed solution must be equitable with the living costs clearly separated from the health care costs.

  15. Iain Gill
    Posted August 14, 2019 at 6:22 am | Permalink

    It is not sustainable for people to keep their property in Scotland while their equivalents in England have to sell theirs.
    Care needs to be paid for from general taxation.
    It is especially bad where someone has not just bought a house, but actively worked on it to repair it from a shell to a family home for the children to have later. The amount of emotional energy tied up in such houses is massive, it is soul destroying to have it taken away. This can destroy people emotionally.

    • JoolsB
      Posted August 14, 2019 at 7:42 am | Permalink

      It seems it is Iain. UK MPs squatting in English seats in the UK Parliament are perfectly happy to see this happen just as they are happy to see Scottish students (and Welsh & NI to a lesser degree) pay no tuition fees whilst English kids are clobbered to the hilt for most of their working lives and just as they are happy to see the rest of the UK get their prescriptions and parking for free whilst our sick pay for their medicines, even life saving ones. Despite England being the only net contributor to the UK coffers, we get far less money per head than the rest of the UK and they stand by and do nothing.

      Why we English allow this discrimination to continue is the biggest mystery. This is why England must have it’s own parliament the same as Scotland & Wales so hopefully we will have someone standing up for us against this unfairness unlike now.

    • The Prangwizard
      Posted August 14, 2019 at 9:25 am | Permalink

      It only works like that in Scotland because of the disproportionate amount of money paid by the UK parliament with English taxes to appease the Scots to preserve the Union. All this while the Scottish insult us whenever and wherever they can.

      • JoolsB
        Posted August 14, 2019 at 11:54 am | Permalink

        Exactly. The sooner the Scots have the courage to vote for independence the better off we in England will be. It’s the only way England will get any fairness as 550 UK MPs squatting in English seats are perfectly happy with the status quo. As far as England is concerned and the rotten deal we get both financially and constitutionally they couldn’t give a stuff except when it’s election time of course.

  16. Richard1
    Posted August 14, 2019 at 6:33 am | Permalink

    I agree the state cannot possibly underwrite the whole cost of elderly care. It is reasonable for people to sell homes to pay for care. No-one has a right to a subsidy to protect inheritance. There is a floor of £23k at the moment which is protected. I suppose a cap could be considered of c. £100k – pretty much what Mrs May proposed as I recall? It will have to be done by a majority govt post election any proposal to do anything will be dubbed a ‘dementia tax’ by our moronic political left.

    • Ian Wragg
      Posted August 14, 2019 at 7:22 am | Permalink

      The£23k is a myth. Councils continue to take money at a reduced rate down to, £14k. I know because I’ve recently been in that position.
      A£200k estate reduced to £13,500 and only 3 inmates funding their own care.
      There is something drastically wrong with the current system.

      • Jiminyjim
        Posted August 14, 2019 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

        IW, you’re correct, I’ve had a similar experience, albeit in my case the total estate was £76k, and was a sum that had been scraped together by a couple who had never owned their own home but both worked into their 80s – a working life of almost 65 years in both cases and with the husband being a war hero (not my father, but I was next of kin). Hard to imagine a sum put together with more backbreaking effort, but only £9k was left after funeral etc expenses. The only consolation I had was that neither of them ever knew how they’d been shafted by the state in their hour of need and after lives when they would have been ashamed ever to have claimed state benefits. Do we have no morals as a country?

    • Know-Dice
      Posted August 14, 2019 at 7:31 am | Permalink

      David Cameron suggested a “cap” and never delivered.

      What about a time limit rather than a cap, say (if you have saving above £23,250) you pay for the first two years then the council contribute at a rate calculated from the average of care home costs in a particular area.

      This would stop people booking into a “Hilton” and expect the council to pickup the tab for that. That said it should also be borne in mind that moving elderly people from an environment that they are comfortable with and used to should be avoided.

      The £23,250 saving threshold needs to be looked at and maybe adjusted annually based on RPI or CPI as it hasn’t changed since 2013?

      An old Guardian article here is worth reading:

      I would like to see somebody like Frank Field heading a Commission to sort this problem out.

      • Jiminyjim
        Posted August 14, 2019 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

        Except we have a crying need for Frank Field as our next Speaker (hopefully very soon). I don’t know that he’d be interested, but he has all the necessary qualities

        • Fred H
          Posted August 14, 2019 at 7:11 pm | Permalink

          ABB – anybody but Bercow.

      • Richard1
        Posted August 14, 2019 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

        i agree frank field would be a good person for such a role.

  17. Dave Andrews
    Posted August 14, 2019 at 6:37 am | Permalink

    I doubt there could ever be a comprehensive solution to a problem which will always require an element of compassion.
    However, I would suggest an insurance scheme that can be taken out by an individual, perhaps using the tax-free lump sum from a pension fund as a premium, that covers care home costs should they need it later in life. There might be a case for annual premiums as well, to cover the unforeseen increased costs of care.
    Once the insurance is taken out, the policy holder could opt out of the state scheme and be rewarded by a reduction in their council tax bill.

    • agricola
      Posted August 14, 2019 at 8:03 am | Permalink

      The profligate do not pay into insurance schemes, nor do they have pensions from which lump sums of the magnitude required can be extracted. For what you suggest to work, the premiums must be extracted from whatever they earn at source. Ring fenced from them and from the government.

  18. GilesB
    Posted August 14, 2019 at 6:44 am | Permalink

    No individual knows how long they will live or what their medical needs will be at end of life. This makes it impossible for people to plan funding their own needs precisely. Essentially everyone who tries to do so will either run out of money before they die or go to their grave with a surplus that could have been spent or invested better elsewhere. No one will spend their last pound on their last day.

    Collectively however we can estimate usefully accurately the expected lifespan of an adult of any age. Estimates that will change over time with developments in medicine, lifestyles, and expectations. And we can calculate the contribution that needs to be made for each adult each year in order to fund that expected future cost.

    Who should make the contributions is a political decision. As a Conservative I favour people being self-sufficient, except in the most extreme cases where there needs to be some sort of safety net. If people in full-time employment genuinely cannot afford contributions to their own healthcare and old age, the answer is to increase the minimum wage not distort the tax system.

    The big problem we have however is that the welfare state has never been properly funded. The people have been told that their tax payments and NI payments are funding not only current services, but also their right to those services in retirement. Generations of politicians have propogated this lie. Politicians have repeatedly chosen to keep contributions too low against the obviously rising costs.

    As we live longer, which is a good thing, we need collectively to contribute thirty percent of our income into funding our old age. It is the only way the system can be sustained.

    Transitioning will be difficult and will have to be done over one or two generations. The sooner we start the better

  19. Frances Truscott
    Posted August 14, 2019 at 6:55 am | Permalink

    Surely someone can come up with an insurance scheme. And why inheritance? Firstly because making sure family is OK is basic to being human. To tax it or steal to fund the feckless is vile. My children are both now in their first post Uni jobs. I was an elderly parent because I was prudent. It is middle class prudence which must be protected and rewarded.
    Most people wont need a care home. Nice one Dave Andrews reward people for not using state facilities.

  20. Anonymous
    Posted August 14, 2019 at 6:58 am | Permalink

    O/T but related to use of Parliamentary time.

    Banning the use of hands free phones in cars.

    Are we allowed to talk to passengers then ? If so then why ?

    The biggest problem is texting whilst driving, mainly by young women and the police are unable to enforce the law against that. I see it in slow moving traffic every single day. Always women under thirty – they simply cannot stop themselves texting.

    Why are you bothering ???

    • Know-Dice
      Posted August 14, 2019 at 7:44 am | Permalink

      A lot of modern cards have built-in SAT navs and touch screen for not just the entertainment systems but for adjusting heating etc – should all these be banned?

      As you say, the Police already have the powers they need to enforce this and additionally can prosecute for “driving without due care and attention” do we really need another layer of law to cover this?

    • agricola
      Posted August 14, 2019 at 8:30 am | Permalink

      It is an absolute nonesense. Before we let these idiots get away with their interfering idiocy, make them differentiate between users of hands free phones that cause accidents while on the phone and the law breakers who phone and text with hand held phones.

      In the air I communicate by radio, mostly on one frequency. It is mandatory that I do. Usually when lowering the undercarriage downwind or talking to other aircraft. Professional pilots are changing frequencies and talking all the time. This is mainly to conduct a safe flight. I hate to think of a situation where such communication is banned.

      Back to vehicles, are we going to stop the police, and ambulance drivers from communicating. Health and Safety has outgrown its purpose. Lift a rock and you will find an H&S person full of self richousness scheming away to ban something.

    • Mark B
      Posted August 14, 2019 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

      Police can. It is called undue care and attention. They’re just being lazy.

  21. sm
    Posted August 14, 2019 at 7:03 am | Permalink

    I had experience of this situation (care homes, payments, property ownership and inheritance) with two elderly relatives in the past decade, one of whom was both mentally and physically compromised.

    1. a care home cannot and should not be run on the cheap. Providing clean, safe and competent services with good quality staff 24/7 costs money, even without luxury extras.

    2. care-home operators should be encouraged to open premises in every potential area, and local authorities should be positively directing such entrepreneurs to the provision of both straightforward homes and/or luxury homes.

    3. the welfare system was intended to be a safety net, not a swaddling blanket protecting every citizen from every eventuality. It will be an immense task to moderate society’s views on individual entitlement and responsibility; perhaps some of our tertiary education establishments might be encouraged to think about that, rather than banning beef on campus.

    4. Family break-up is far greater today than it was 60 years ago, and the overwhelming majority of homes and estates that have been built during and since the great expansion in the 1920/30s make no allowances for granny-flats, even where a family is willing to live with an elderly relative. No new housing estate should be permitted to have only one type of housing – perhaps small blocks of four 1 or 2 bedroom maisonettes should be mandatory for every dozen or so family houses, so that a relative can live within close walking distance. I don’t pretend that will solve every problem, but it could help.

    In my family’s cases, neither relative had sufficient cash reserves nor any pension other than a small State one that could fund care-home costs, and therefore without hesitation we sold their properties to fund their care. Our inheritance was lessened, but our relatives’ peaceful end of life period was worth it.

  22. Denis Cooper
    Posted August 14, 2019 at 7:06 am | Permalink

    Off topic, I am pleased and grateful to see the Irish Examiner has published my letter:

    Including the blunt sentence:

    “To keep it as polite and dispassionate as I can, I will simply say that the sheer arrogance of this attitude beggars belief.”

    It is best found by googling for the whimsical title it has been given:

    “Man up and meet in the Irish Sea”

    • Know-Dice
      Posted August 14, 2019 at 7:33 am | Permalink

      Thanks Denis, keep it up 🙂

    • Duyfken
      Posted August 14, 2019 at 7:56 am | Permalink

      That makes good reading. I suppose the Examiner may have considered it too provocative if you had added a comment that we in the UK will not forget the position taken by the Irish over Brexit, and that it will surely not go unpunished.

      • Frankh
        Posted August 14, 2019 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

        Duyfken- what position are the Irish taking? Our negotiation and argument was with the EU in Brussels and we lost that round- can’t blame the Irish for looking out for themselves- in truth we never bothered to look out for them when we could

    • bookend
      Posted August 14, 2019 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

      As far as I understand the Irish PM Varadkar very generously extended an invitation to Boris first and so it is Boris’s choice if he want’s to go to Dublin or not. Anyway don’t think there’s much sense in meeting when all they can talk about really will be about setting up the NI Assembly again- and surely this can can be easily done by a phone call- to discuss anything else Boris will have to travel to Brussels to talk with Barnier- the way I see it!

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted August 15, 2019 at 11:53 am | Permalink

        That you misunderstand is clear from the articles I have cited and in particular this:

        “Pressure to ensure Varadkar-Johnson talks in Dublin”

        Imagine if Boris Johnson insisted that Leo Varadkar must come to London to pay homage, the outrage there would be in the Republic.

        As for what can be discussed: it should be recalled that it was the Irish who first kicked off the EU demands that the UK must stay under swathes of EU laws even after was have left the EU, using largely invented problems on the land border as the pretext.

        “This is also from November 26 2017:

        “Brexit: Remain in customs union and single market to solve border issue, Ireland’s European commissioner tells May”

        “Mr Hogan, the EU’s agriculture commissioner, said Ireland would “play tough to the end” over the border issue, and said it was a “very simple fact” that “if the UK or Northern Ireland remained in the EU customs union, or better still the single market, there would be no border issue”.”

        While this is from today, after almost a year which has been worse than just wasted because Theresa May could not get it clear in her head that she was supposed to be on our side not on theirs … ”

        If the Irish give up their demand that the UK must remain under swathes of EU laws then no doubt the EU will also start to think again.

  23. Alan Jutson
    Posted August 14, 2019 at 7:12 am | Permalink

    You are correct John, May’s Social care proposals lost her, her majority at the last election, because it was ill thought out and disqualified anyone who had a home of their own, or assets of more than £100,000 from gaining any sort of State care at all even in their own home.

    The problem you first have to solve John, is to define what actually is determined by nursing care.
    If someone cannot feed, wash, dress, take medication, or go to the toilet without any form of aid, treated under the definition of medical/nursing care ?
    I would suggest it does, but at present the system does not agree.

    If I go to a hotel they do not provide any of the above, they simply provide a bed, heat light and power, hot and cold water, a choice of food and clean the room, nothing else.

    Then we have the complication of treatment or care in your own home, if a spouse or family member does all of the above, then they do not get a lot of help, unless they get some respite help, and perhaps depending on the rules, some form of benefit because they are acting as a career.
    But the difference in payment for this career and what is charged by a nursing home for the same service are Worlds apart.

    Yes I know the arguments about family responsibilities, till death us do part, and in sickness and in health, etc, etc, etc.

    The point I am trying to make is that this is not a simple problem to resolve fairly, and it requires a much larger and more comprehensive debate about the whole care, welfare and Social care system, which is what Mrs May failed to realise with her stupid and ill thought out proposal.

    • Anonymous
      Posted August 14, 2019 at 8:27 am | Permalink

      The Thatcherist “stake in society” has turned into a stake in the heart. Owning a home is becoming a liability.

      Look. I don’t expect to have someone else pay for my care.

      I do resent, however, giving up all I’ve sacrificed to pay for someone else’s.

      Be it education, saving or buying a home – the delayed gratification which goes to build a stable and enduring society is being punished, not rewarded.

      • Anonymous
        Posted August 14, 2019 at 8:31 am | Permalink

        The fact is a child can be dutiful and do years of caring and hospital trips… and still end up selling the family home at the end of it all.

        Modern medicine can keep old people going on and on long after the mind has expired and long after the body should have packed up and long after there is any quality of life left.

    • sm
      Posted August 14, 2019 at 9:31 am | Permalink

      Alan, your comments are very accurate.

  24. JoolsB
    Posted August 14, 2019 at 7:24 am | Permalink

    John, with respect, as someone who purports to speak for England, how come you, like your colleagues with English seats hardly ever say the word ENGLAND? Isn’t social care a devolved issue? Which means it is only social care in ENGLAND which is in crisis and it it only elderly folk in ENGLAND who are handing over their homes and lifetime’s assets they have worked hard for all their lives in return for care. They are being punished by a Tory Government for being thrifty. Meanwhile we hear those who have no assets, who have never saved, never owned their own homes or indeed maybe never worked, get all these things for FREE courtesy of the local taxpayer. To add to the insult we hear local councils are charged a much lower rate for their care than those who pay for it themselves.

    Meanwhile we are handing over £14 BILLION a year and rising in foreign aid. Why are all our politicians so incompetent and clueless in finding a solution?

  25. Alan Jutson
    Posted August 14, 2019 at 7:25 am | Permalink

    The first place to start is to have the same rules throughout the Country.

    What will medically qualify you to have Continuing Care, fully funded by the NHS, varies from area to area, and I know this from personal family experience, as each trust has different rules and criteria.

    How can this be when we are supposed to have a NATIONAL HEALTH service.
    The same argument applies to the post code lottery of some treatments/medication.

    Surely before you have any debate you need to have some consistent rules that apply everywhere, after all we all pay the same rate of tax throughout the Country, we do not have a post code tax rate do we !.

    Thus after we have fixed the very basic rules, then we can perhaps get on and discuss the options.

    • Andy
      Posted August 14, 2019 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

      Even if you have ‘Continuing Health Care’ it does not mean it is ‘fully funded by the NHS’. What happens is that Clinical Commissioning Groups set ‘caps’ to what they will pay for homes – there is a distinction between a Care Home and a Nursing Home. They then expect either the person concerned or a family member to pay a ‘top up’ which in my experience amounted to 50% of the care home fees. Of course it is illegal to top up an NHS service, so the CCG couch the thing by saying it is for ‘additional services’ which is the choice of the patient. Even when this is not so and it is pointed out you would not believe the arrogance and contempt you will receive from the complaints department.

      • Alan Jutson
        Posted August 15, 2019 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

        Sorry Andy

        Unless the rules have changed recently, Continuing Care was, and to the best of my knowledge still is FULLY FUNDED by the NHS, full stop.

        Our Family member was fully funded for 5 years.
        Yes you had an Annual medical review to make sure you were still entitled to it, but fully funded it was, in a Nursing Home of our choice, local to us in Wokingham (and no not the most expensive, neither the least expensive) but the one which we thought would suit their needs the best, and was close enough for the family to visit regularly without a very lengthy and time consuming journey.
        The Nursing home (privately owned and operated) was out of our Family members original Trust area, but nevertheless was still fully funded by her original area Trust.

        I certainly agree that you have to be desperately, desperately ill in order to Qualify under Continuing Care, but my original argument is the same, the fact is different Areas have different rules for qualification, which I believe is quite shameful given it is supposed to be a National Health Service.

        That family member was very well looked after in the Home we chose, until they eventually passed away.
        No top up fees for any additional services were ever asked for or mentioned.
        If there was a cap, then we were completely unaware of such.

  26. margaret
    Posted August 14, 2019 at 7:26 am | Permalink

    You probably are talking about the difference between rights and desires. Many work to improve their children’s lives and make life easier for them . In fact for many that is the whole purpose of their life and it is not a case of the children’s rights but rather many years parental input to assure that the parents off spring will have a better life is made void and worthless.
    It probably does not occur to you , being on a decent salary and in a good position, that the majority of people , the voters ,do not have that security and prosperity and it is arrogant to align the rest of society with your personal circumstances.
    The existing getting older people should be paid for and the younger generation should start paying insurance for old age at the beginning of their work life . What should that be financially swopped for ?… Educational Fees .. University courses and student loans are ridiculously high. Education in Universities should be free for all and combining this with working on a job at the same time as academic studying , balanced in a proportionate way,which would pay for the course in combination with state bursaries.

  27. margaret
    Posted August 14, 2019 at 7:27 am | Permalink

    life; correction

  28. Kevin
    Posted August 14, 2019 at 7:51 am | Permalink

    The payment of stamp duty on house purchases by the elderly person
    ought to be refunded to them in these circumstances, if we really
    mean to be fair to the taxpayer. How bitterly ironic that someone who
    may have handed over thousands of pounds to buy homes over many
    years should have to sell their last home to save the Treasury money.

  29. Aaron
    Posted August 14, 2019 at 8:13 am | Permalink

    Why not compare what other countries do, and present the options to people rather than request general feedback.
    So countries might have better, or worse solutions, some might not have any. But unless we understand what is possible, it’s senseless to try an make a decision without options backed up by data.

  30. Little Englander
    Posted August 14, 2019 at 8:18 am | Permalink

    2 Gites Andy: waddy-you-fink buddie? You’ve got very strong views in respect of ‘Old People’ and when they should die ‘orf’ (so that the right vote passes through?) Useful to hear your views FOR ONCE!

  31. James Bertram
    Posted August 14, 2019 at 8:19 am | Permalink

    John , you have come up with part of the solution? : ‘I did not think I had any right to inherit their flat and did not disagree with the policy that said that money from the sale of their home had to be used for their living costs in the care home.’

    The issue, and objections, seems to be about inheritance.

    There is a finality, a burning of bridges, a destruction of any hope of return, when an old person is forced to sell their home to move into a care home.
    Too, you wouldn’t want to sell your home, only to die the next day.

    A better, more sensitive policy, would be for the cost of the care home to be settled against the deceased’s estate – so no payment of any care home costs are due until the person dies. Then the bill has to be settled in full before any inheritance is passed on to beneficiaries (and clearly no tax scams/schemes allowed to avoid this, such as lifetime gifts.).

    • BritInDeutschland
      Posted August 14, 2019 at 11:12 am | Permalink

      James, a very sensible proposal only overshadowed by the fact that retirement/care homes are in what looks very much to be in a non-regulated private sector, where monthly prices vary enormously from anything from £2k to £5k/month. It is also interesting to note that where there is a GP somewhat attached to the home, most often it is not as a permanent job/position. In addition a large proportion of those he staff is non-medical and earn not much more than the minimum wage.
      Finally it is now a bit dated but the Telegraph on 12/06/2012 was reporting that ‘Elderly relatives of immigrants are banned from claiming benefits for 5 years’, which if the law has not been changed since casts a big doubt on some of the claims from the contributors to this blog.

  32. Fred H
    Posted August 14, 2019 at 8:23 am | Permalink

    Most of the heartrending, problematic issues brought on by dementia or bad infirmity have been discussed in these responses. We have been at the sharp end, and know of too many sad and unfair stories resulting from the need for care beyond one’s home.
    It is a pity the state/NHS have not engaged with utilising a halfway house building as close to hospitals as possible. These could have been purpose built to provide the basic needs, and ease the problem of bed-blocking by patients affected by dementia and similar care needs. The new accommodation could allow more time to transition people from hospital bed to ‘final’ care home, or possibly hospice. Any potential ‘profit’ absorbed by the state, rather than going into the pocket of existing care home providers.
    The decision on the remaining money left ring-fenced from the patient’s estate to be inherited must be increased to reflect the fact they may have indeed lived humbly and not spent, spent, spent, and to possibly take note of the inheritor’s devotion and often expense looking after their parent or relative to the point of care home need.
    The derisory present sum does not take into account the costs of dealing with any asset sale, funeral expenses etc.
    The seriously wealthy of course use family trusts to side-step these taxation, inheritance measures, and the ordinary folk with a lifetime’s work providing an asset are now encouraged to pass on this level of ‘wealth’ long before their reasonable end of life.
    Good luck with finding a fair solution to this distressing set of events too many of us will face.

  33. MPC
    Posted August 14, 2019 at 8:23 am | Permalink

    I agree with your penultimate paragraph and also think the current system is broadly appropriate. Housing wealth gives choice – about where one might want to live in later life and in terms of other choices. These can include moving to a smaller property before old age and helping offspring financially with part of the sale proceeds. After all inheritance tax only applies on death and not before!

    People who rant about the feckless should remember that State provision of care for the less well off does not involve choice – you have to go to a care home you are allocated to.

  34. NigelE
    Posted August 14, 2019 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    Sir John, only one aspect of the current system is wrong: that independent residents of a home pay more than council funded residents. I suggest councils negotiate the rate for ALL residents to create equality.

  35. Colin
    Posted August 14, 2019 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    In the 1970s I believe my father paid tax at 37.5% as a standard rate tax payer ( VAT did not exist ). In the same time period my grandmother needed sheltered accommodation for which she handed over her pension but was able to retain circa £7 per week for toiletries, etc. She was not asked to hand over her modest bungalow or bank deposits.
    Assuming the current standard tax and Vat are similar to my father’s tax rate of 37.5% I must ask the question ” where has all the money / revevue gone ? ” Successive Gov’ts have probably squandered it via inefficient spending – too many quangos or on marginal / peripheral “needs”.
    Do we need to re-invent the wheel ? We could look to Germany where for the last 20 years I believe they have set up a ‘state fund’ to pay for care which is funded by contributions of 1% employee salary paid by employee and 2% of employees salary paid by the employer. Does this scheme work. Is it a fair scheme ? Just as it is with the state pension some contributors do not receive a state pension because of prior death and the same would apply to the above scheme. Better to live in the knowledge that care would be provided if needed should an individual live a long life.

  36. Everhopeful
    Posted August 14, 2019 at 8:47 am | Permalink

    You can’t do away with society and therefore families, send women out to work AND have old people looked after in their own homes ( or as they often were, multi generational family homes).
    People used to die in their own beds “ helped” along by a Dr they knew and who knew them.
    The inhumane and revolting destruction of family life has been achieved by successive govts over fewer than 3 generations.
    The most shameful part being the innocent joy and pride with which my great grandparent’s generation ( and yes I remember them. Despite what the Marxists say, longevity is not a modern invention) entered into the money grabbing socialist scam Welfare State mythology. This could never have worked with the other plans up their sleeves… like mass immigration for example.
    “Cradle to grave” overturned by the Thatcher “revolution”.
    No solution to any of this stripped of all heritage,deracinated we stumble on.
    But all of this comes at the end of a very long line of the corporatocracy (which took over from basically the remaking shreds of the feudal system) shrugging off its responsibilities to its workers.
    Betrayal, theft and a few handily culling wars.
    Work hard. Pay your taxes and you will be shoved into an institution.
    Oh and I worked as a visiting outsider in many of those places…neither qpretty.
    Nor kind!!

    • Everhopeful
      Posted August 14, 2019 at 8:49 am | Permalink


  37. Julie Williams
    Posted August 14, 2019 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    After my mother’s first big stroke she could return to her home and we got by with a commode (no downstairs toilet) and carers twice a day…and yes, she did have to contribute to that although she was on basic state pension.
    After the second, massive stroke it was no longer possible and she had to go into a nursing home.The loss of the house which we’d watched our parents deny themselves to buy was nothing compared to the distress at the level of “care” provided.I use that word in inverted commas because I’ve seen NHS nurses and “carers” treat patients with did gain and neglect.Ring the bell because you need the toilet…when they eventually come it will be to turn the bell off and go away!
    It was only later, when I realised that instead of watching my mother and father’s distress when he was made redundant because of the fear of losing the house they sacrificed so much for when they could have been safe in a council house and had good holiday etcetera and the cos of their future care would be paid by everyone else.
    I don’t know what the answer is, one way or another, the burden will always fall on the ordinary worker and we have to have a society here it pays the ordinary person to work.
    I note the recent trend of the young of a left leaning/remain inclination to blame the elderly right leaning/brexit voting of selfishness and being a burden .I do know someone who complains bitterly about paying tax on their pension whilst shopping at Ocado.They have signed their house over to their children to avoid nasty things like care home costs and death duties.You will be pleased to know that they are solidly labour/remain and believe that everyone from everywhere should get everything they “need” in this country….just not with their money! I, on the other hand, recognise that I have to keep contributing if we are to have a society with a reasonable safety net for all and will not be doing this.

    • Andy
      Posted August 14, 2019 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

      ‘I do know someone who complains bitterly about paying tax on their pension whilst shopping at Ocado.They have signed their house over to their children to avoid nasty things like care home costs and death duties.You will be pleased to know that they are solidly labour/remain and believe that everyone from everywhere should get everything they “need” in this country….just not with their money!’

      Just signing over your house to the kids doesn’t work. It is called a ‘gift with reservation’. The Inland Revenue will deem that because they gave away the house but retained the use of it that it was never actually given away. You basically have to give it away and deprive yourself of its use. You can’t have it both ways. On the care front the Local Authority would deem it a depravation of assets and would count the house value in your assets.

  38. oldwulf
    Posted August 14, 2019 at 9:01 am | Permalink

    “Should taxpayers pay the care home costs of millionaires, for example?”

    Why not ?

    After all, millionaires are entitled to the state pension irrespective of their medical condition.

    We are into the realms of the National Insurance and Tax system.

    • Everhopeful
      Posted August 14, 2019 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

      In saner times a millionaire was allowed to pay for his/her care…ie they could pay for the best.
      Surely that freed up more basic care for those who could not pay?
      I saw so many nice care homes ruined ( and eventually closed)by regulations and some Labour scheme which forced them to throw their doors open to those whose care was paid for by taxes.
      Similarly one strand of scuppering the NHS was by the initial retention of private beds. It was recognised that this would put private nursing homes out of business and everyone would be forced to use the NHS when, as planned, the private beds were withdrawn. Great!
      Not to mention the loss of the geriatric wards which kept property out of the equation.
      Obviously it suits any govt for hard earned cash to be forcibly released into the economy.

      • oldwulf
        Posted August 14, 2019 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

        Hi Everhopeful

        I was perhaps questioning potential discrimination against an individual by virtue of his/her wealth, bearing in mind that it is likely a wealthier individual has paid and will pay more taxes and maybe National Insurance ?

        A millionaire can opt to pay for “the best” standard of care which is presumably better than might be available under a State funded system…. but if the millionaire chooses not to pay for the best then should a taxpayer funded (more basic ?) standard of care be denied to them ?

        One option might be a voucher system ?

        The key to all of this would be to have sufficient money in the State kitty so as to make the basic standard of care available to all. Ideally, we would need a healthy economy and a productive and equitable tax system.

        I would add that I am not a millionaire … although I have bought a ticket for tonight’s lottery draw and so tomorrow could be a different story 🙂

  39. Bill
    Posted August 14, 2019 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    Some years ago. A friend of mine’s mother became infirm. The first question that was asked when assessing her was, “Does she own her own home”. Not until that was confirmed was she send, against her will, into care (a secure one as she was deemed to be “dangerous” – which she wasn’t). The house was taken of course.

    Five years ago my mother was dying of cancer. Terminally ill a “care package” was put in place. First question of course was, “Does she own her own home”. I was able to tell them no. A minimum care package (next to useless) was put in place.

    Four years ago my uncle suffered a devastating stroke. I was the first person to arrive at the hospital. Perhaps it wasn’t the first question, but certainly one of the first, was, “Does he own his own home”. I declined to answer.

    • Alan Jutson
      Posted August 14, 2019 at 2:12 pm | Permalink


      I was asked the same question of my Mother when she was admitted to Hospital after a stroke, my reply was simple.

      What on earth has that got to do with her care.

      They walked away and I did not get asked the question again until many months later when I eventually got her a Continuing Care, fully funded by the NHS

      I had to contest 4 medical assessments to do so but eventually they agreed that what what she was entitled to.

      They asked me how I got my medical knowledge of her situation. I said I had read the daily notes at the bottom of her bed which were filled in every day by the medical staff.

  40. kzb
    Posted August 14, 2019 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    Socialise the cost by taxing the estates of the dead at a fair level. One that rewards thrift and gives a definite advantage to those that have contributed to the system.
    When a property owner dies, they are allowed an untaxed threshold of say £15k to allow for funeral and other death costs. After that, the remaining value is taxed at say 20%, the money raised being ringfenced for the care budget.
    The big problem with May’s £100k fixed sum death tax was that it is deeply unfair on those property owners outside the south-east. £100k is not much out of a London property price, but it is most of the value in poorer areas of the country.

    • jerry
      Posted August 14, 2019 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

      @kzb; “Socialise the cost by taxing the estates of the dead at a fair level.”

      Why not just simply tax the living sufficiently, tightening tax loopholes etc, so no one can escape paying a fair level in advance, like with any insurance scheme [1], I know it could be called ‘National Insurance’…

      [1] who pays their home insurance premiums only after damage or theft, who only pays their life insurance premiums after the policy holders death?!

  41. Gareth Warren
    Posted August 14, 2019 at 9:44 am | Permalink

    ~From US experience 80% of healthcare costs are incurred after 70, here I would describe a care home as one.

    Here I would be very well off if my parents home was passed on, but really I would prefer my parents had the value of it then me, I will earn my own way.

    I am not sure what solution there is, people who contribute to their care home cost should be rewarded with a better choice than if the state provides. I also believe we have consistently underestimated the costs which coupled with our ponzi like national insurance is not a good thing. For starters we definitely should not be giving tax payers money away in foreign aid until it is funded.

    • jerry
      Posted August 14, 2019 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

      @Gareth Warren; Many a family have gone without to buy their own home, the parents happy to do so because they understood they would leave a nest-egg for their children or grandchildren -and indeed the Tory govt in the 1980s sold the Right to Buy scheme on just such a promise.

      Now the same people, having done the right ting, and paid all their taxes and NI, are being told that nest-egg can not be, why? It better be a good excuse otherwise many will simply see blatant duplicity…

      • Gareth Warren
        Posted August 15, 2019 at 9:17 am | Permalink

        All the “nest egg” does here is raise prices and deprive their children of the experience of earning their way in life.

        I would rather house prices were not such an overwhelming factor that people put their money into lest we devolve back to a medieval state of haves and have nots, people should also invest in their community and industry.

        • jerry
          Posted August 15, 2019 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

          @Gareth Warren; The sale of the “nest egg” does not alter the over all availability of houses, only new-build (or commercial to domestic conversions) that, so rather than build (more) retirement/nursing homes why not just build more homes/flats suitable for singles, couples and families of what ever age?

  42. Christine
    Posted August 14, 2019 at 9:45 am | Permalink

    Make it easier for people to remain in their own homes longer. Allow people to downsize without huge taxes. Build retirement villages where homes are adapted for the elderly. Often the elderly want their independence but with a little support as and when they need it.

    • Shirley
      Posted August 14, 2019 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

      What huge taxes? Sale of your principal private residence is free of CGT, and the stamp duty on a small home would be minimal, unless you live in London or some other highly expensive location.

  43. ian wragg
    Posted August 14, 2019 at 9:50 am | Permalink

    WE can’t afford to fund end of life care but we have £12billion and rising annually to dole out in foreign aid. I do believe the Brexit Party is going to address this, Conservatives definitely won’t.

    • jerry
      Posted August 14, 2019 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

      @ian wragg; UKIP/TBP need to get elected first, a single MP elected at a GE would be a start if they don’t the only parties who’ll “definitely” won’t be doing anything about end of life care is UKIP/TBP…

      Both UKIP/TBP will be busted flushes on 1st Nov, even in Wales…

  44. MB
    Posted August 14, 2019 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    Why can’t we have in England, the same system that they have in Scotland. Also, why can’t we have the same health spend per head that they have in Scotland.
    I’m planning to move there, and note that Sturgeon has recently recommended this.

    • Know-Dice
      Posted August 14, 2019 at 11:09 am | Permalink

      MB, Could be because every single person in Scotland gets some £1600 to £2000 per year more than those in England due to the Barnett Formula 🙁

      • Sir Joe Soap
        Posted August 14, 2019 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

        Never mind I’m sure we’ll give them an independence bounty in place of all that future Barnett money saved.

  45. jerry
    Posted August 14, 2019 at 11:56 am | Permalink

    If you make elderly people sell their family home to pay for care that they have already PAID taxes to revive all your party will do is drive more people to vote Labour, UKIP/TBP or who ever, and those who are not will have the gumption to simply sell up well before needing care, sharing out the inheritance and managing their finances to minimise what the State can steal recoup from their estate.

    Mrs May’s policy idea, not the detail, was simply wrong and that is why many Tory voters either actively voted for another party or sat on their hands in June 2017. Drop any idea, for pity sake, Corbyn is in the wings just waiting for this idiotic idea to resurface!

    If there is an argument for changing the post war settlement then make it, but it can only apply to those who are yet to start paying income and Ni taxes, for anyone else what you are proposing is akin to insuring your car, later having an no fault accident and finding that neither parties insurance polices will pay out due to a point of law that did not exist when the policy was bought!

  46. They Work for Us?
    Posted August 14, 2019 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

    We are starting at the middle of a problem and not the beginning as we have to deal with existing oldies. Fairness for Mr Thrifty versus Mr profligate is a very difficult and I who have opted not to have expensive and new cars, frequent holidays bitterly resent having to fund Mr Profligate from my resultant savings.

    As a carer probably to be faced with this problem I suggest the the following would be equitable for existing oldies who are expected to pay for their care because they have assets where there is no time to take out an insurance scheme.

    Care home charges for comparable places must be the same for state and private payers. .

    Assessment of Nursing needs should be by the NHS to national standards and not done by the local authority (whose main aim is to avoid any payment if possible).

    Only the “board and lodging” element should be chargeable to individuals with assets.

    The drain on assets should be capped at each end. The first 100k of savings/ asets should be exempt AND no one should have to pay in nore than 100k for their care. Payment will be being made from already taxed income, enough is enough.

    Thank you for your efforts on our behalf. Good luck to Boris and Co. Please expel the previous Chancellor and other so called conservatives from the party at an inconvenient point for them so that they cannot stand again as conservatives.

    • jerry
      Posted August 15, 2019 at 6:14 am | Permalink

      @TWfU; You say you want people to be Mr Thrifty rather than Mr Profligate but surely what you and this policy idea will do is make people into Mr Profligate – fast cars, boats, multiple expensiveness holidays, in fact anything for the here and now or that suffers a depreciation to its value over time, and lets not forget the expensive gifts to their direct family (inheritance as living gifts in other words), all the time opting to pay rent that whilst more than what a mortgage would be leaves nothing the State can claim as an asset…

      I agree with you on the social element of support and care, it should never have been separated away from the NHS, it is now obvious that breaking up the DHSS was just the thin edge of a wedge.

      As for the “board and lodging” element, by definition only those with assets can pay it! The real issue is who decides residential care is needed rather than just (non chargeable) in-home care/support.

      Do we really want the NHS or LAs carting pensioners off to commercial privately run B&L chargeable nursing homes, Simply because it saves the NHS/LA money in caring for the (now) wealthy Mrs Wilberforce [1] and her ingrowing toe-nail in her own home? I exaggerate of course, but perhaps not by much. 🙁

      [1] those in a certain generation will understand that reference, and of course even without ‘the loot’ her ramshackle house is now worth a small fortune, why should the State have first call on it rather than her intended recipients, the ‘Mission to Seamen’ & the Parrots protection society?

  47. Gordon Merrett
    Posted August 14, 2019 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

    As I understand what John is saying, those who can afford to pay are expected to pay their living cost. From that I would assume that the nursing costs will still be paid by Government.
    However that is not what happens. My Mother in Law is in a very expensive (£4500 pm) nursing home. Her fees cover everything and to the best of my knowledge the Government (us tax payers) do not contribute anything to her care.

  48. BR
    Posted August 14, 2019 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

    One area that stands out like a sore thumb is that people with dementia are still being sent to care homes when we now know that they actually have a disease.

    This is like sending people with cancer to care homes at their own expense. The discovery that this group of ailments is actually a set of diseases is relatively rare, but the realisation that, as a disease, it should be under health care has been slow. Government has a habit of dragging its feet when some new cost emerges.

    This is an issue that needs urgent attention. Not to mention, urgent research.

    • BR
      Posted August 15, 2019 at 9:17 am | Permalink

      That should have read “The discovery that this group of ailments is actually a set of diseases is relatively RECENT” (not ‘rare’).

  49. BJC
    Posted August 14, 2019 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

    Reading your comments about whether taxpayers should pay the care home costs of millionaires I was reminded that a similar situation exists for the preferential arrangements afforded to our Parliamentarians. I doubt I’m the only one to question whether it’s the taxpayers’ responsibility to pay for 2nd homes or general day to day costs with no entitlement to a return on our “investment”, or whether MPs should be enjoying advantageous and untaxed allowances, etc. There’s no question that if taxpayers are required to pay again and again for a declining service provision, a more equitable example must be set from the very top, and the culture of “do as I say, not as I do” must be brought to an end with good grace.

    I absolutely believe we should have government policies that provide an immediate and robust safety net in times of need. However, our caring, sharing welfare-based philosophy has drained our finite resources by creating a population that appears convinced that it’s sick and/or incapable, and automatically turns to government to solve their “problems”. It’s a situation where the feckless and fickle have acquired a huge sense of entitlement, and where “reward” is provided from the public purse for little/no effort or contribution.

    Meanwhile, the taxpayers who have been providing the funding to meet these demands for their entire lives, are being abandoned when they finally seek a contribution from the public purse at the end of their lives. To be honest, it’s exactly the same mindset that drives the EU whereby we pay in billions to the benefit of a chosen few, whilst starving ourselves of the resources that should be providing our own comfort.

    I don’t know that there’s a definitive the answer to the question of care, but perhaps we should consider slowly introducing some sort of affordable, but flexible insurance scheme that provides a contribution towards end of life care and can be seen to directly benefit the contributor. I would not anticipate the full liability falling on the client.

    There are also many people who wish to offer a home to an elderly relative but simply don’t have the means or space to do it. Government could introduce some sort of scheme to support home improvements so they can accommodate them. A charge on the property could recoup a percentage of any added value for the Treasury on change of ownership.

    Reply MPs no longer get any help to buy a second home, only rental and related costs

  50. BR
    Posted August 14, 2019 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

    Those of us who have saved and wish to pass on something to our kids feel aggrieved that we may lose everything due to the lottery of end-of-life care needs (none of us knows how long we will live in care and there is no insurance policy that would pay for it now i.e. we couldn’t start paying now and have it fund our care, since we are now too old – it would have to start early in life). This may be a solution for the younger generation but it would need to be enforced or most wouldn’t do it, so we end up in the same position of some having cover and some who do not have a free ride.

    As long as it’s being enforced by government, perhaps government should simply provide the care at taxpayers’ cost rather than create a private sector market and all the issues that go with that (providers refusing to pay under certain conditions, limits on cover etc).

    Many of us would opt for euthanasia when the time is right – but the lily-livered people who call themselves leaders (i.e. MPs) duck the issue time and again.

    We cannot have a system where spendthrifts end up with yet another free ride (many of them will also have lived on the taxpayer to varying extent throughout their lives) while those who have worked hard, saved and tried to provide for their family see it taken away.

    • John Robertson
      Posted August 14, 2019 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

      Let me burst that bubble BR

      If you with the agreement of your parents want your parents to be in a charity run/state run end of life home then your parents will have gifted their wealth to you over several years previous.

      BR, if they have not done that nor plan to do that it means they want private care in their final months.

      Does that bother you? Its their money.

      • BR
        Posted August 15, 2019 at 9:15 am | Permalink

        Normally I post and move on, without ever checking back for replies, but on this occasion I happened to be reading back to see other people’s ideas.

        And I have to say that your reply is really very silly.

        The current system expects people to guess when they will die since IHT applies if the gift is less than 7 years prior to death. They then have to do without their money, not necessarily knowing what problems might occur in the following years.

        What is the actual point of this ridiculous system? It achieves nothing positive and serves only to create uncertainty for all.

        In terms of bubbles, you really need to think outside of the one you’re living in.

  51. BR
    Posted August 14, 2019 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

    As I said earlier, we cannot have a system where spendthrifts end up with yet another free ride (many of them will also have lived on the taxpayer to varying extent throughout their lives) while those who have worked hard, saved and tried to provide for their family see it taken away.

    The cost of State-provided care for all, irrespective of current wealth, can be recouped if we:

    1. End ‘health tourism’. Ensure that proper checks and charging are done. Perhaps ensure that visitors have valid health cover on arrival.

    2. Elective procedures should not be free.

    3. GP appointments should have a small charge applied with a rebate when you actually attend to prevent the costly no-shows. Say, £10 charge at time of booking and £7.50 rebate if you attend and the issue is a genuine health concern (at present receptionists are asking intrusive questions to try to weed out the silly appointment reasons).

    There will be many ways to cut current costs.

    One big issue is that government departments all create their own IT systems for each and every function. The NHS has its own pensions system and its own HR system – have a central IT function that creates one of these for use by all departments (not necessarily having all the data in one system, just having their own copy of the same application would be a massive saving on IT procurement costs).

  52. Stephen Smith
    Posted August 14, 2019 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

    When my Aunt went into long term care, here house was sold and with modest savings, she had capital of £200K. Interest at 5% and her pensions met the care costs. When care costs increased by about 5/6% each year and interest fall to 1.5% or less, she was paying £10,000 a year from her savings. Very quickly, her savings fell- as did her interest. It upset her that 70% of people in her home had enjoyed luxury holidays and spending and had all their costs paid while her care with spending meant she could not pass on a modest gift to her grandchildren.

  53. Sea Warrior
    Posted August 14, 2019 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    I feel that if someone is, through poor health, unable to live in their own home, then the state should be caring for them, as it would if they were, say, recovering from a broken hip. That’s expensive but the costs could be covered by a mandatory insurance scheme, which means increased NI. Those in homes could reasonably be expected to contribute a substantial dollop of their pensions – as is, I believe, the case for those at Royal Hospital Chelsea. After all, the pension is given to cover living expenses.

  54. Ian Heath
    Posted August 14, 2019 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

    Sir John,

    If inheritances can be eroded to nothing then then there is no incentive to provide for one’s own children rather than just spending it.

  55. BritInDeutschland
    Posted August 14, 2019 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

    Why not look at what other countries do: for example 3/4 of French care/residence homes for people over 65 are so called EHPADs (for etablissement hebergeant des personnes agees dependantes: home for dependent old people). These EHPADs (about 7000 in France, very often close to or linked to a hospital) have to sign a tri-partite convention with a regional health office (therefore the hospital link) and the local Conseil General (a ‘french department elected council). This convention specifies things related to transparency of costs, training of all staff in contact with old people, medical and non-medical, and the minimum standards that the buildings and other amenities
    (food and cleaning services) have to respect. From extended family experience, the cost is for a person in a care environment between €1800 and €3000, with possibility of aid defending on the resources of the immediate family, spouse and/or children. A great-aunt on my wife’s side recently spent 3.5 years in such a hospital-linked EPHAD for cost varying between €1600 to €1900 when she died in February 2018.

    • Know-Dice
      Posted August 15, 2019 at 8:10 am | Permalink

      “€1600 to €1900” for how long?

      Per week, month, year?

      In Wokingham self funding you are probably talking about £800 – £1200 per week !!!

      • BritInDeutschland
        Posted August 15, 2019 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

        Sorry, per month and this between 2015 and 2018.

  56. Helen Smith
    Posted August 14, 2019 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

    I actually thought May’s idea was quite a good solution!

    The amount that is left untouched needs to be significantly raised and £100,000 seemed a good place to start.

    For home owners north of Watford that would probably leave their home largely untouched, for those in the south there would be something you could guarantee would be left to pass onto your children, which is what we would all like to do.

    It is a tax on thrift, no doubt. Earn a lot but spend it all on wine, women and song, and the state pays for you, earn a little bit scrimp and save for a home of your own and you are expected to fund yourself. The greatest unfairness is when someone not only pays for their own place, but also a premium to help top up the council’s contribution to the occupant getting free board and lodging in the room next door.

    Perhaps Care Homes should be forced to itemise their bills and be clear about how much they charge councils.

  57. stephen redfern
    Posted August 14, 2019 at 4:38 pm | Permalink
    The number of people in the UK with dementia, which is a disease, is around half a million or 0.75% of the total. Of these, only a proportion will be totally incapable. Stroke victims may take the number to a million. At £100,000 pa for care, that would cost £100bn pa. Some homes can charge more. The best way to avoid this impossibly high cost is to provide more nursing in sheltered housing, where people with a house to sell could move to, perhaps wit an exemption from stamp duty. Even one to one for an extra carer should not cost a salary of more than £30k and most patients would have a warden to call overnight, having been put to bed. This could be covered by insurance for all over 40 with children helping out if they wished to inherit the property. Then the sheltered flat could be sold without the government getting its hands on the family wealth and using it to subsidize the client state.
    Note that, for some reason, the increase in dementia in England is higher than in Wales or NI. Why?

  58. Peter
    Posted August 14, 2019 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

    “I did not think I had any right to inherit their flat”

    John, by my estimation, you earn (a good income ed) We are all well aware that, to you, the value of your parents’ flat is a drop in the bucket. But to a lot of people, they’ve worked their whole lives in the hope that they’ll have something to pass on to their descendants when they die. They’ve spent their retirement years economising to spend as little of it as they can. Can you not understand that they might feel a bit cheated, and wonder if they might just as well have treated themselves a bit more and spent every last penny while they were young enough to enjoy it?

  59. Dominic
    Posted August 14, 2019 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

    So you expect the taxpayer to pay for the costs of Labour’s client state thanks to Tory incompetence as you stood back and watched them construct it without even a hint of intervention.

    Any other liabilities that you think the taxpayer should absorb? Liabilities that are a direct result of Labour’s plan to construct a political system that benefits the Labour party

    Well done Tory party. Not only do you dance to the tune of Labour’s liberal left strategy you’re now faced with the prospect of fighting a vested political interest that’s infected all aspects of our nation’s public institutions

    How can I put this? The Tory party either now steps up to the plate to confront the potent threat of Marxism, Anti-Semitism and liberal left social fascism or you should consider retiring the party

  60. BillM
    Posted August 14, 2019 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

    The GP is over-burdened with ‘potential’ patients. In Dentistry, even with NHS appointments, we have to pay a sum of money for an inspection regardless of age. Perhaps there should now be a fee to pay for such a consultation with the GP with exceptions allowed as they are in Dental practises. The sums taken would at least help the Surgery if not the NHS itself. Such a system would work within the Care Homes.
    If you can pay, you must pay and should there be an asset, like a house involved, the payment system could be operated on the lines of an Equity Release programme.
    The bottom line is, “Why should the tax payers subsidise a person who has assets in excess of £???”
    Having said that, at the same time there must be a Legal Ombudsman to ensure that no one is taken advantage of.

  61. John Hatfield
    Posted August 14, 2019 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

    You may not have needed your parents’ house or the money from it John, but perhaps your grandchildren would have benefited.

    • John Hatfield
      Posted August 14, 2019 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

      correction – your children or your grandchildren

  62. Denis Cooper
    Posted August 14, 2019 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

    Off topic, Boris Johnson openly accuses Remoaners of collaboration with the EU and on the same day this appears:

    “Internal EU paper: Second Brexit vote was no longer ‘distant dream”

    “‘A second referendum about the United Kingdom’s membership of the European Union was no longer “a distant dream” back in January 2019, according to an internal European Commission document released at the request of EUobserver.

    The document is a briefing for Pierre Moscovici, European commissioner for economic and financial affairs, taxation and customs, ahead of his meeting with former UK prime minister Tony Blair last January at the World Economic Forum in Davos.”

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted August 14, 2019 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

      What ever is wrong with collaboration, with the most enlightened, civilised, peace project, that this tragedy-stricken planet has yet seen, Denis?

      • Sir Joe Soap
        Posted August 14, 2019 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

        Naive. So wonderful the Swiss who haven’t fought a war for centuries won’t join.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted August 15, 2019 at 7:09 am | Permalink

          The Swiss are bound very closely to the European Union, by numerous agreements, far more intimate than the proposed Withdrawal Agreement negotiated by May’s team, as is Norway.

      • Anonymous
        Posted August 14, 2019 at 9:13 pm | Permalink

        You mean NATO ?

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted August 15, 2019 at 7:11 am | Permalink

          No, the European Union has arguably maintained peace against the odds *in spite of* NATO.

          Read up on Operation Gladio:

          • Mitchel
            Posted August 15, 2019 at 9:39 am | Permalink

            *in spite of NATO*

            Correct.The western allies were never going to honour the agreements made with the Soviets during WWII concerning the division of Europe.See also the abortive “Operation Unthinkable” and the postwar destabilisation operations revealed to us-and the Soviets-by Kim Philby (which cost the lives of many thousands of agents and their families).

      • stred
        Posted August 15, 2019 at 6:22 am | Permalink

        It’s because we’ve voted to leave, they’re trying to punish us and the traitors are helping and suggesting ways, while agreeing to stay in all but name. How is the peace in Ukraine going?

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted August 15, 2019 at 11:59 am | Permalink

        Article 50 does not prescribe collaboration, it prescribes negotiation between two parties, the UK and the rest of the EU; and those UK citizens who have been undermining the UK’s negotiating position are traitors even if in strict legal terms they have not committed treason.

  63. bookend
    Posted August 14, 2019 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

    These guys can meet in Davos or they can meet at Bilderberg it will make no difference- we are going out the door 31st Oct. It’s the only way the EU can get rid of Farage, Widdecombe and the other UK disrupters from the EU parliament- which will also suit the UK Tories very well and should also nullify the ERG element. BOB’S your uncle!- ‘No if’s or but’s’

  64. Zerren Yeoville
    Posted August 14, 2019 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

    The wide disparity between house prices and incomes, with the former seemingly an ever-growing multiple of the latter, means that far fewer people who are not already in possession of property are able to envisage being able to afford one.

    When Margaret Thatcher allowed council house tenants to buy and own the roof over their heads, she did so knowing that there is nothing like home ownership and the increase in personal net worth that it represents for steadily turning young Labour voters into middle-aged Conservative voters.

    But if the profits from the absurd house-price inflation of the last twenty or thirty years end up lining the pockets of care-home operators while a generation of younger people for whom the ‘Bank of Mum and Dad’ (or an inheritance therefrom) is their only chance of acquiring a home of their own are left to languish in rented accommodation, where is this motivation to change political allegiances going to come from?

    And, if the next generation is unable to buy a home of their own … then where, in their own old age, is the funding for their own care going to come from, in the absence of a house to sell in order to fund it?

  65. Andy
    Posted August 15, 2019 at 6:34 am | Permalink

    This is an easy problem to solve.

    Pay for your own care.

    Can’t pay? Don’t get care. Easy.

    • Fedupsoutherner
      Posted August 15, 2019 at 8:57 am | Permalink

      Andy, shouldn’t your rules then apply to asylum seekers and immigrants then?

    • BR
      Posted August 15, 2019 at 9:20 am | Permalink

      “Don’t get care”.

      Seriously? Have you ever seen how elderly people are when they’re in care? Many need to be lifted into a bath with a hoist. Someone who’s 102 has children who are in their 80s – how are they supposed to do that, many such people need care themselves.

      You really are living on another planet (Planet Envy, where the green-eyed monsters live?) if you can dismiss care needs with a wave of your magic wand.

    • Fred H
      Posted August 15, 2019 at 8:35 pm | Permalink

      Andy…anti-compassion. congratulations.

  66. mancunius
    Posted August 15, 2019 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

    I don’t see how we can avoid having to implement a universal insurance scheme.
    The problem is – as with tax and NIC – there will always be those who claim they are ‘too poor’ to contribute, and who will then be unfairly given a free pass, subsidised by the less profligate.

    Should we not start to get realistic, and point out that to be genuinely poor for a period of one’s life, particularly in childhood ‘may be regarded as misfortune’, but for a normally healthy person an entire lifetime of dependent poverty ‘looks very much like carelessness’, and it should carry a penalty, otherwise the cement of trust that keeps our society together will disintegrate.

  67. Howard Nash
    Posted August 15, 2019 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

    Requiring elderly people to sell their home so that its capital value can be realised and spent on care home fees is too prescriptive. Alternative solutions should be equally acceptable. When my mother’s dementia required her to move into care, we rented out her flat. The rents received, together with her Attendance Allowance and State pension were sufficient to pay the costs involved. A fairer and more sensible solution would be to require a contribution to care home fees equivalent to market rent plus state benefits without requiring people to sell up and then exhaust their home’s capital value.

  68. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted August 15, 2019 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

    When old people lose mobility, it often becomes difficult to live in a house with stairs. The trouble with downsizing to a bungalow is that bungalows can be scarce and bad value for money because they occupy a lot of land in relation to the number of rooms provided. I’m surprised that developers haven’t come up with low rise blocks of flats specially designed for old people – say up to five stories. Such blocks would need a concierge, internal mail deliveries, superb and well maintained lifts, a staircase, communications facilities for the infirm, wi-fi, nearby public transport and a taxi facility on tap. Two and three bedroom flats in such blocks would be the order of the day.

    I don’t see why taxpayers should fund the costly extra years that the medical profession and the pharmaceutical industry have given to the elderly. Bear in mind that in 50 years the male pensionable age has not risen at all and the female pensionable age has risen by only 5 years. Life expectancy has risen much more.

  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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