Sir Keir Starmer has labelled Boris Johnson’s social care reforms a working-class dementia tax as the two leaders engaged in fierce clashes at PMQs.
Sir Keir Starmer accused Boris Johnson of breaking a Tory manifesto promise that nobody would have to sell their homes to pay for care.
The Labour leader claimed the Government was picking the pockets of working people to protect the estates of the richest.
He accused Boris Johnson of operating a classic con game with the Prime Minister acting as the frontman, distracting people with wild promises and panto speeches whilst his Chancellor dips his hand in their pocket, but the premier kicked back as he rejected the broken promises claim and insisted the Government was fixing the problems that they believed could never be fixed.
The Government last week published small print relating to its social care reforms which revealed a new £86,000 cap on care costs will be less generous than originally believed, sparking a Tory uprising.
What the change indicates is that means-tested assistance from local authorities for the less well off will no longer count towards the cap.
That means they will have to spend more of their own money on care before they reach the lifetime limit.
Andrew Dilnot, the original social care tsar who made recommendations a decade ago on how to improve the sector, blasted the move and said it means the less well off will not gain any benefit from the cap.
He also pointed out that the elderly in the north of England where house prices are usually lower than the south will be the worst hit.
The House of Commons narrowly backed the move on Monday but 19 Tory MPs revolted against the Government while a further 68 of their co-workers didn’t vote for them, either because they abstained or couldn’t attend.
Boris Johnson told his Cabinet this week that no one would be forced to sell a home they or their spouse was living in as it wouldn’t be counted as an asset.
This was less categorical than his manifesto promise at the time of the 2019 general election when he offered a guarantee that no one needing care would have to sell their home to pay for it.
In fact, the recently worded pledge is comparable to the current system of means-testing where people’s homes are not counted as assets provided they or their partner live in it.
I can see that many people in their 60s will go for equity release while their still young enough to enjoy their wealth. Perhaps have that cruise that they’ve always wanted, or spend their summers at a nice seaside resort. I guess it’s better than spending your last days stuck to a chair in a nursing home.
However, equity release shouldn’t be encouraged because a lot have lost out doing that, and there are some pretty big risks and some right swindlers in the business of equity release, and spending one’s money early on might be a great idea if you knew you would definitely need entry to a care home, but the reality is that 5 per cent of circa 12 million total pensioners are in Care Homes, though that increases to 17 per cent of the 1.6 million over the age of 85, most people demonstrably don’t survive the age of 85.
And it does seem like a great idea in theory because of course, the Government can’t take what you haven’t got.