In spite of the uproar – and the migration of elderly voters to Labour – caused by the Tories’ plans to make older people pay even for care at home out of the value of their house, the Tories have attempted to make the plan out to be ‘fair’ and have focused on the ‘cap’ on care costs – and the claim that people won’t be forced to sell their homes to pay for care.
But this is deeply misleading. It’s not really a ‘cap’, as the contribution to costs has no upper limit, so someone with a house in an expensive area will easily pay hundreds of thousands of pounds before reaching the last £100,000 of the value of their estate. Just a single day per week of home-based care costs – at the moment – around £7,000 a year – and this will of course rise with inflation.
It has emerged that the Tories have already promised their backers the opportunity to sell lucrative insurance contracts to older people that will cover the cost of care but will then force the sale of a property on the death of the insured, to pay for the insurance premium – and that insurers will have the right to seize and sell a property to cover the debt, without worrying about getting the best price for the family:
This mechanism was confirmed by Conservative think-tank The Bow Group last week:
Tory Damian Green today dismissed concerns by saying on The Marr Show,
£100,000 is a reasonable inheritance.
But what happens when someone needs care, dies and leaves behind a spouse who also needs care either then or later?
Theoretically, the value of the remaining estate would be only £100,000 and the spouse would therefore not have to pay for care – but with the value of a house already consumed by insurance premiums for the first partner, this either means huge numbers of people receiving free care that the Tories have not costed for (like most of the rest of their manifesto), or, much more likely, the government demanding payment from the surviving spouse for his or her care out of the remaining estate.
Remember, as shown above the Tories are only saying you won’t have to sell your home to pay for care if you have one of their scam insurance products.
But are companies going to provide insurance when the value of the property is already used up? No, they’ll either refuse cover or make the survivor sign away the remnant to cover care that is unlikely to last out their lifetime if they need daily or even regular care.
Either way, a surviving spouse is going to face either being forced to sell their home to pay for their own care, or to sign it away to be sold for the benefit of the insurance company when they die – leaving nothing for their loved ones to inherit.
Whichever way you cut it, this is a colossal scam by a government that is hoping to fool people into voting for themselves to be deprived of what they hoped to pass on to their families.
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