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Are 'care credits' a good idea?

09:12 UK time, Saturday, 30 October 2010

People who volunteer to help the elderly or disabled could earn time credits which they could then redeem for their own care later in life. Would this work?

The system already operates in Japan and the government is now considering whether it could also work in the UK.

Care Services Minister Paul Burstow said it could help vulnerable people maintain their independence.

Charities said they welcomed moves to get more people volunteering, but care in old age was a right not a reward.

Are you a volunteer? Would you do more volunteering if you could redeem the time back in later life? Is this a good way to approach the care of the elderly or disabled? Does Cameron's idea of the Big Society appeal to you?

This debate is now closed. Thank you for your comments.


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  • Comment number 1.

    Oh yes lots of unquailified do gooders looking after people, who have paid their taxes and dues and then when they need help find a teenager on works experience helping them. I can not wait to get old

  • Comment number 2.

    Any form of credits and Government are highly unlikely to materialise.
    The requirement to put into pension, likely no pension at the end. credits for helping the infirm now, none available when its your turn.
    I paid 50 years into N.I. I probably had a packet of painkillers in all that time. Now looks like I got to scrape the money together to have surgery on my failing eyesight because the NHS just send out letters saying we cannot make an appointment at this time. The Consultant tells me my problem isn't on their "targets".
    Sop, no don't hold your breath there will be no credits for anything when its your turn!

  • Comment number 3.

    What kind of Body is to be set up to administer this scheme? A good idea.

  • Comment number 4.

    good morning all
    this idea of working a couple of hours a day do people who think this up live in cloud cuckoo the real world we catch the 05.30 train to london and don't get home untill 18.45 then have to sort out food and preperations for the next day when o when can we put in 2 hours

  • Comment number 5.

    If a job is worth doing, it's worth a salary. As a rapidly approaching elderly myself, I would find it distasteful to have to rely on voluntary help, and would much prefer a properly paid, professional care. It sounds to be a way of getting labour on the cheap, I would say.

  • Comment number 6.

    So,first we had Camerons "hug a hoodie" now we have "adopt a oldie" and yes,before anyone asks I am an "oldie". Mind you,I note that in true Tory style one is not being asked to "care" for an oldie for alturistic reasons but rather as a form of "bank of the future. Should I have the misfortune to require "care" in my advancing dottage the last thing I want is some "Tory boy" arriving at my home motivated not by "compassion" but rather Tory investment in THEIR future. Cleary the culture of "greed is good and the devil take the hindmost" is alive and well in Cameron et al Conservatitive Britain.

  • Comment number 7.

    People should do charitable/volunteer work without an expectation for any sort of benefit.

  • Comment number 8.

    Just watched Dr Heinz Wolf delivering his idea for a future care reward scheme. His proposal appears to be that everyone in their 50s carries out two hours a day of 'care', every day, with it being seen as part of an 'employment' scheme. In return for this 'work' those involved would gain credits towards their own future care; "... like a pension scheme."
    Is it really proposed that a people who apparently already work longer hours than in many other european countries, and who following recent changes will now retire later, are to be expected to extend their working day by another two hours ? Does this also extend to weekends ?
    Surely the negative effects of two hours a day extra 'working', will outweigh any potential benefits ?

  • Comment number 9.

    Sounds like the sort of DIY scheme, on the cheap, that governments are so fond of.
    How will it be administrated, quality assured, monitored, and checked for fraud and abuse?
    And another thing, what about those who have already spend so many years of their lives patiently looking after their elderly relative, especially now that they themselves are getting old. Too bad, I guess; they’ve missed the boat.
    So much for this caring far thinking government.

  • Comment number 10.

    What do I think of Camerons "Big Society"? I just see in it the old Tory ethos of the "Bluie rinse brigade and Tory worthies" doing their latter day "let them eat cake as we know what is best for them" and then returning to their dinner parties to laugh at those who are less fortunate than themselves, There is no place in a modern society for Tory busy bodies poking their noses into other peoples lives in order that they may gain a vicarious thrill at experiencing poverty albeit second hand.

  • Comment number 11.

    "Are care credits a good idea"? The wording of this HYS question is unfortunate as it implies that future care will be replaced.

    The devil is always in the detail and the idea is considered on 'time banks'. Japan does have a very different society and are generally more respectful of elders and the infirm.

    However, if it attracts more people to consider volunteering, for any reason, and that their time credits can be transferred to further enhance help for infirm, disabled or elder relatives or friends in different parts of the country - well that's good.

    Yes, most people volunteer for altruistic reasons; for reasons of tragic life events or just for friendship gained from a common concern or interest.

    This philosophy of 'time banking' should be considered and given a fair airing and consideration, but not as a replacement for qualified and formal care when life is at it's most cruel.

  • Comment number 12.

    In practice it seems like a good idea.

  • Comment number 13.

    Meanwhile back in the real world...................

  • Comment number 14.

    Adding to my comment at number 5, perhaps if the carer was an attractive young lady, I might be persuaded to swallow a principle or two, particularly if she could discuss knowledgeably about literature, classical music, history and philosophy. If care does not include a certain degree of intellectualism, then I'm not sure I would want it.

  • Comment number 15.

    It shouldn't be voluntary work, but conscription.
    Every adult above the age of 40 should be required to give two hours a week to help out with care for the elderly, over and above what they do for their own elderly relatives.

  • Comment number 16.

    Sounds like a Ponzi scheme. The system will have already been bankrupted by the time its your turn. The elderly should live in communities where there are many people watching over them. When many people are involved in their care it reduces the possibility of people taking advantage of them. If people lived separately but also communally there'd be plenty of people to help with all sorts of things like babysitting other people's children, taking care of the elderly etc. For someone like me this would be a good arrangement. I'll watch your kids. You watch me.

  • Comment number 17.

    There are at least 3 main reasons why this is a terrible idea.

    Reason One:

    There are many, many areas in which people can volunteer, including a wide range of social services.

    This idea puts the focus squarely on caring for the disabled and elderly, and ignores all the rest. What about those who volunteer to work with addicts? The homeless? Abused women and children? The RSPCA, and other animal-related charities? The Salvation Army, Red Cross, and other aid agencies? Are they, somehow, of less value to society?

    Reason Two:

    People who volunteer tend to do it because they care about specific causes, for the most part. Even those who are just looking to fill their spare time, or get experience of some sort on their CVs, will generally look for something that they are interested in or care about. By putting a monetary value on volunteering, that goes out the window - and volunteering in Britain is instantly crippled. Ask yourself, what happens when a future government decides THIS needs to be cut - and thousands of volunteers, no longer receiving their perceived "rights", quit.

    Reason Three:

    I realise that this is a "delayed" payment. In other words, "Someone Else's Problem". Those who propose it will never have to deal with the actual problems that it causes. But, right now, we do not have the money in the economy to start paying volunteers. What in the world makes anyone think that this is going to change? Do they have any idea just how many volunteers are operating in the UK at present? What this would cost?

    No, if you want to encourage more people to volunteer, change the way that volunteering is viewed. Educate society. Focus on ALL voluntary organisations who help society - in the media, in schools, etc. Then, focus on the other big problem - right now, anyone with about 5k in the bank, and a committee of 3-5 people, can register a new charity, but that's another story.

  • Comment number 18.

    As long as it doesn't develop into another tier of welfare with the government paying people to look after close relatives.

  • Comment number 19.

    Unacceptable and in flagrant breach of the social contract under which citizens provide funding for government in return for the provision of services.

    I used to be content to pay my fair share of taxes on the understanding that those who were in need would be looked after. This obligation is already not being met.

    It is becoming less and less obvious why we trouble to even HAVE a government, let alone fund it from our pockets. They renege on every obligation and responsibility yet continuously demand even more money.

  • Comment number 20.

    I just give up! I understand that we need some new approaches to old problems but PLEASE!!!!! Where did common sense go to? What happened to thinking things through? Is there no one in government, any government, capable of being sensible?


  • Comment number 21.

    12. At 10:04am on 30 Oct 2010, Kuradi Vitukari wrote:
    In practice it seems like a good idea.
    What practice? They're just thinking about it...well just taking actually.

  • Comment number 22.

    Its always a good idea to look at waht other countries do in all areas and to assess whether its worth doing yourselves. In this case do we want 'volunteers' providing personal care for what they can get out of it financially? I suspect it would attract the wrong sort of person and cause far more problems than it solves. Ideally personal care should be provided by professionals who know what they're doing for a decent wage or family, there's also a role for volunteers, most of whom do a wonderful job because they care but many of people who would be encouraged to volunteer by a scheme like this probably wouldn't care and as a result would do it badly. We have a very different attitudes to Japan.

  • Comment number 23.

    Sadly the comments here show a depressing state of the British mind. When I heard about the Japanese system years ago I thought what a great idea the younger generation can learn social responsibility and 'earn' credits when they might need it in later life. You could say it's all part of being in a community as young and old integrate. The comments here suggest we are too selfish to consider it, say the volunteer work should have no gain, the state should look afte the old and that it can't work. Firstly it can work ask the Japanese, it's a way of earining help later in life the more you put in the more you take out. The other extreme any job should be worth a salary how self serving is that it's no wonder we don't have a community spirit in the UK. Before the nanny state families we looked after own just like in many less self centered societies today. We've become institutionalised and myopic this should have thought of years ago not now it's perceived as saving money. The burden of looking after the aged will only get bigger so let's start of thinking in broader terms. We can't expect the state to pay for everything it could be families become more engaged in what they can do not what they can't. NOBODY SAID IT WAS EASY.

  • Comment number 24.

    I once entertained the notion, that a change of Government would put an end to half-baked sound-bite policies, ill thought-through and totally untenable as effective legislation.
    How wrong I was.
    Doesn't the Civil Service have any control over these loquacious loose-cannon politicians, any more?

  • Comment number 25.

    Recommend post #19 @ 10:14am on 30 Oct - 'Megan'.

    Fair and pertinent points, well made. Can't disagree because it's true that I too, may have been 'hoodwinked' by government that takes another country's right ideas and manipulates them for all the wrong reasons or ideology?

    We should, of course, be open-minded, but suspicious too. Especially with regarding potential erosion and cuts in qualified and professional care that is already happening.

  • Comment number 26.

    HYS - "Are 'care credits' a good idea?"

    HYS - 'Is this a good way to approach the care of the elderly or disabled?' - Yes - with proper Training.

    HYS - 'Does Cameron's idea of the Big Society appeal to you?' - Yes.
    Mr. Cameron's 'Big Society' is not just for Financial reasons - it's to try to get this very badly 'BROKEN-Society' back to a postion of responsibility & consideration towards each other - as we'd really like it to be - if we were honest.
    We hear a lot about the 'togetherness' etc that the British people felt and witnessed during WW2. This was NOT just a 'dream' - it was true to a very great extent.

    Sadly, in witnessing just how 'Broken' our Society has become in RECENT years, I am sure that such 'togetherness' would not be found - quite the VERY OPPOSITE - I fear...

  • Comment number 27.

    More bright ideas from on high. Does anyone think this banana-republic could sustain any scheme (bar war of course) for over a year?
    Face it, the rich are headed thataway.

  • Comment number 28.

    Currently to work with vulnerable people you have to be CRB checked, does this mean that we will now have ID cards by another name??????

  • Comment number 29.

    It's all very difficult in a modern society where we don't all live in the same street any more. We drive 40 miles every week to the mad auntie's to change the bed and clean, shop, and talk to her. It costs us £15 in petrol, and a whole half day. In addition I do some youth work, and my wife teaches swimming voluntarily twice a week. So we spend more time on the young than on the old, as it should be.
    It would be far better if the Government actually spent more money on professional help for the aged, or rather spent it more sensibly. £1000 per week to look after someone in a care home in a pretty lax way - got to be mad pricing. It is OK doing it for your own kin, but anyone with experience will tell you that dementia does not always make it's sufferers grateful, compliant or wholesome. With a rising generation of people who have lived their lives in a totally selfish and particular way, I cannot see them volunteering to help just anyone for the half promise of a deferred reward.

  • Comment number 30.

    the sooner we get a general election the better.

  • Comment number 31.

    So my children will go to university and pay a fortune for what used to be free. Then they will pay off that debt for 40 years whilst also trying to pay for a house and a pension. On top of that they'll be expected to give up whatever free time they have left to "buy" care credits so they have someone to look after them in their old age. This is just totally crackers. Governments just have no idea what the world they create is like do they. Maybe it's because they don't actually live in the real world

  • Comment number 32.

    I gave up work 3 and a half years ago to look after my mother who has Alzheimers. To gain credits for my old age would I have to train to look after her? What about all the other full time carers out there will their efforts count?

  • Comment number 33.

    What about all the volunteer work that is done in other sectors rather than looking after elderly people, it appears that that won't count for anything so other organisations will suffer. I don't like this idea, if one is a genuine caring person one will help out where needed without expecting any kind of reward. Elderly vulnerable people need specialised care as I well know as my mother had senile dementia for 12 years before she eventually passed away and I would have hated just anyone popping in and out of her home thinking that they might be doing the right thing.

  • Comment number 34.

    I have never heard of anything so ridiculous. Surely our elderly should be cared for by people who have a genuine interest in doing this work rather than people being forced to do it otherwise they will receive no care in their old age. This will lead to abuse, deaths and suffering of the elderly.

    The outcome of refusing to care for our elderly would be disastrous and surely no civilised society/government should be considering this.

  • Comment number 35.

    To #23, the "state of the British mind" currently gives us 14 million volunteers, as you'll see if you read the main article thoroughly. I'd love to know how that figure was obtained, but that's going off track.

    But, you're right - just not quite the way you think. There IS a degree of selfishness in our society - and that is going to be the problem. Most people, when faced with two near-identical tasks, one of which provides tangible benefits, the other not, will select the one which provides tangible benefits.

    To put that into real terms, try this: You can spend an hour with meals-on-wheels, providing food to shut-ins, or you can spend an hour at the local soup kitchen, providing food to the homeless.
    In the given scenario, meals-on-wheels would get you one hour's credit, the soup kitchen would not. Which one are YOU going to choose?

    And, there is the problem. To pick one or two aspects of social care, and give added value to them, damages all other aspects.

    The other area of selfishness comes from the government. Ask yourself why they are proposing THIS, and not asking for, say, a country-wide volunteer register? Why are there no efforts to find out who is already volunteering, and make note of their contribution to society? They want more people to volunteer - without knowing who is already volunteering, and what they are volunteering to do. Surely better co-ordination of the volunteer workforce would be of more benefit than trying to put another price ticket on retirement?
    But, they want something for nothing - and to get it, have chosen to look at those of us who are already willing to give something for nothing - or at least, for the satisfaction of helping our fellow man.

  • Comment number 36.

    I strongly belive that this is a noble idea to help elerly people as we have to pass through the same phase once .,But the language of love should spread to all then only it will be benfit to all. from kabi

  • Comment number 37.

    This is probably the last thing both the elderly AND the younger generation want. When you retire, would you want an unqualified person looking after you wellbeing? If your younger and working, would you want to devote more of your free time to work? I know when I retire, I would want proffesional looking after me. Here's an idea: train the unemployed in all aspects of caring for the elderly and disabled so atleast they're contributing to society in some form - which could then lead to them getting into the proffesion!

  • Comment number 38.

    I always thought you give because you want to, not through ulterior motive. Life tends to balance out although you can never be sure you give when someone else wants to take, or take when someone else wants to give. But if you give freely all the time then life has its own rewards for you.

  • Comment number 39.

    I care for my mother 24/7 - does this make me a 'volunteer'?

  • Comment number 40.

    30. At 10:51am on 30 Oct 2010, The Crimson Avenger wrote:

    the sooner we get a general election the better.

    We only just had one a few months ago. The next one will be on 7th May 2015. A lot can happen between now and then.

  • Comment number 41.

    To address the actual questions asked here:
    1.Are you a volunteer?
    Yes, I am. Due to my health history, I find myself unemployable, despite (to my mind) having proven over and over that I can do all sorts of work. So, I put in 40-50 hours worth of various types of voluntary work a week. Everything from feeding the homeless to writing software for charities to helping at scouts and raising money for charity, and a few dozen bits inbetween.

    2. Would you do more volunteering if you could redeem the time back in later life?
    No. I do 40-50 hours a week without pay or other benefit (other than knowing I've helped make someone's life a bit better) - why do you think you can bribe me to do more?

    3. Is this a good way to approach the care of the elderly or disabled?
    No. See the recent news story about the semi-trained nurse who turned off that poor man's life support, and left him brain-damaged. I'm not trained. Plus, you would need to CRB check EVERY volunteer - all 14 million of them, apparently. Given the current cost of CRB checks, this would be a good way to completely bankrupt the economy!
    (does this mean that everyone who failed a CRB check would not get a pension, by the way?)

    4. Does Cameron's idea of the Big Society appeal to you?
    It's not his idea. He swiped it from the churches and voluntary organisations in our communities, who have been doing it for centuries.
    But, yes, it appeals to me. Too bad that it won't work - this is the "me" generation. Sad.

  • Comment number 42.

    The "big society", Cameron's big idea is rapidly turning into the big joke.
    Yes, even bigger than Nick Clegg.

  • Comment number 43.

    In theory this sounds like a good idea - however in practice it is thrawt with problems. I am seriously disallusioned with the younger generation of this country and don't see them suddenly being willing to come round to help me as I get older. I am not painting all the young with the same brush but the sound apples in the barrel are outnumbered by the bad. Do you want some 'bad apple' caring for you?

    A better idea by far is to pay the family a proper sum for caring for the old and infirm. Unfortunately, gone are the days when Grandma was the centre of the entended family and valued as such. These days its a matter of finding a nursing home and hiding her away.

    I've done my share of care in the community but now find myself without the support I gave others.

  • Comment number 44.

    7. At 09:51am on 30 Oct 2010, Mike from Brum wrote:
    People should do charitable/volunteer work without an expectation for any sort of benefit.
    Ah so, A looks after B motivated by sheer altruism OK, but... who looks after A?

  • Comment number 45.

    Nothing but respect and admiration for genuine volunteers - they're stars.

    However,I remain deeply cynical about Dave's fluffy notion of Big Society.The detail and practicalities have to be made clear.

    I have concerns that Dave's new type of "volunteer" will bear too many similarities to the type of pushy parent "volunteers" that Gove is seeking to run free schools.

  • Comment number 46.

    If it fails to put bread on your table or feed your family it ain't very useful as 'credit' goes!

    I like my 'loyalty points' but then the supermarket uses the information gained to bombard me with marketing specifically designed to induce the 'desired' emotional response and get me to part with more of my value!

    Mmmmm - I kind of 'feel' a hidden agenda - the creation of well intentioned guilty little victims to be exploited no doubt! ;-)

  • Comment number 47.

    As my wife ans I are in our early 50's and are already contributing to higher rate tax payers over 60's free bus passes,winter fuel allowance and pensions while not getting any of the aforementioned until 66,having our public sector police and nursing pensions cut to pay for current retirees, and having children of school age whose child benefit will be removed I think we have done quite enough for free for those only a few years older than ourselves.

  • Comment number 48.

    Those who volunteer already will continue to do so. It may surprise Mr. Cameron, but many of us already do keep a close eye on elderly neighbours and take care of them. It doesn't stop the necessity of paid and professional home help, though, so credits for volunteers is unlikely to be the money saver he believes it to be.

    Quite honestly, there are those who should never be trusted to offer any sort of care to vulnerable elderly people. How does Mr. Cameron propose to prevent the con-artists, bullies and abusers from gaining access to the elderly with the blessing of the State?

  • Comment number 49.

    Not a good idea at all....very hit or miss. This should all be done by properly trained people...stop returning us to the 19th century, please....

  • Comment number 50.

    This Condem administration is acting like religion promising something that you will never see. It's cheap insurance or dodgy car salesman tactics. But I suspect there will be those who, because it is not a Labour idea, will sing it's praises to the rooftops and beyond. They will fall for it, until it fails and then blame someone else when it does

  • Comment number 51.

    "People who volunteer to help the elderly or disabled could earn time credits which they could then redeem for their own care later in life"

    Prospectively then want to call these "care credits"

    Hmmm. I remember in the olden days,..
    in return of work, you used to get money.

  • Comment number 52.

    At 11:14am on 30 Oct 2010, Magi Tatcher wrote:
    30. At 10:51am on 30 Oct 2010, The Crimson Avenger wrote:

    the sooner we get a general election the better.

    We only just had one a few months ago. The next one will be on 7th May 2015. A lot can happen between now and then
    Sadly I expect this comment will prove all too true!

  • Comment number 53.

    This is a ill conceived idea and poorly thought one has any trust for the government who takes away benefit for the disabled or the scheme's longevity.

    A better scheme would be to target the recently retired on over inflated government pensions at our expense.

    Give them tax credits for working for registered charities or against their personal allowance or make it a condition of having a government pension?

  • Comment number 54.

    When I first heard of this idea (1 hour ago) I thought it was a good one.
    That was until the 'people are living longer' scenario was mentioned.
    Where do they get their statistics from?
    A couple of people have posted on here about expecting hand outs etc..
    Let's start with the truth. People living longer is a lie to cover up what the previous Tory government did in the eighties.

    Fact: All the National Insurance contributions made by my generation (I'm 55) were spent by that Tory government. Now, to corroborate this, there is footage somewhere of a documentary shown in the 80s/maybe early 90' of how, the then Tory government emptied the pot so to speak.
    If I remember correctly the presenter stood in front of a massive computer using it as an analogy and saying that...people working now and paying National Insurance will find that when they come to draw their pension there's nothing there because this massive computer is empty!
    So now we have Labour/Tory don't matter which, blaming the people and coming up with all sorts of rubbish to cover their own mistakes.
    I worked long and very very hard from the age of fifteen, so to be told that at the time, I was furious to say the least because what they did was nothing short of thievery. They stole our money and now we have to pay it all over again! Unbelievable!
    I also get annoyed because those statistics of everyone living longer are certainly not applicable to everyone, especially my generation!
    Neither of my parents lived past 60, my husband didn't reach 48 neither did another friend of mine. My best friend didn't reach 49 I know of many people in my area that have died quite young.
    Location could be one factor but I'm sure there are other factors too.
    The irony is, the previous generation lived through a war, rations, hard labour in factories etc... and most still manage to live to a ripe old age.
    My generation had it hard, but not as hard as the previous one, yet they are dropping like flies why is that? If healthcare etc has improved so much then why are people dying younger? Guess that's another debate.

    I was hoodwinked again! I voted LibDem...different name, same face!
    If anyone invents a time machine let me know, I want to go back to dialogue with Socrates and Plato they had more sense than any generation since!

    Sorry, I've had a vent here because I'm sick of all the spin!

  • Comment number 55.

    I am a volunteer befriender with Age UK. I visit an old lady in a local care home for two hours each week and take her out. As she has no nearby relatives, this is literally the only fresh air she gets, and the only contact she has with the outside world. There are lots of old people in her situation, who have no one to take them out. I think that's sad, and wrong, and I wish society would take more care of its elders.

    I would be happy to be rewarded for my work, because it's a huge commitment, and I have a lot of other demands upon my time. But I am not at all sure an incentive scheme is a good idea, because it might attract people for whom the incentive is the primary motivation, and who really don't care about the elderly person they are supporting. I do my work well, because I care, and because I _only_ do it because I care it is obvious I will do it to the best of my ability. If someone is doing it for reward, they may do the job poorly.

    However, this same argument applies to paid work, and the vast majority of paid care workers are lovely, kind people, committed to their work. There are checks in place to weed out the rogues.

    It is easy to criticise this proposed scheme, but has anyone got other good ideas to increase the number of volunteers? In the current climate, work like mine will only be done by volunteers, and yet it very important work. It needs doing.

    I don't think we should reject this proposal out of hand unless we have better suggestions.

  • Comment number 56.

    Take away disabled benefit and replace it with flakey volunteers or abusers?

    As a disabled person I have heard so many stories about sexual abuse and theft from unregulated carers.I would rather be alone than be abused!

    Do we actually pay people in the civil service money for these ideas?This is the place to start cutting non jobs asap?

  • Comment number 57.

    I think the best way to get credits is to pay through the tax system so we should change the tax system and make sure people at the bottom end can pay for things we expect them to pay for pensions housing care health care child care school transport These are the necessities of life and an average man on average wages working an average week cannot afford these and we are now expecting him to deliver dinners in his spare time before they put these stupid ideas to the public each of the ministers should spend 4 hours a week doing charity work

  • Comment number 58.

    I am waiting for cameron to volunteer to change clothes and help elderly in nursing homes for credits??

    One rule for me and a large unearned pension for which polition said that again?

  • Comment number 59.

    Good idea in principle, but we are not Japan. We have a completely different culture here. I care for people, but my incentive is its my job, I am paid for it, I chose it as a career. Nice try to incentivise people out of the me, me, me cuture this counrty has, but for as long as we keep rewarding those who have destroyed this countrys finances people will just be out for themselves. By all means encourage people to volunteer their time, but a carrot on a stick approach will attract the wrong types.

  • Comment number 60.

    We need more mature leaders than Dave and Trigger.
    Who will volunteer to make this work - Noddy

  • Comment number 61.

    At 10:51am on 30 Oct 2010, The Crimson Avenger wrote:
    the sooner we get a general election the better.


    We've just had a general election and unfortunately the majority of idiots in this country voted for the Tories....tough luck!

  • Comment number 62.

    Care Credits are a must if the services are to be improved. It would appear that some people within the service are only doing the bare minimum, if that, bearing in mind the condemnation of all the services with regard to the death of Baby P.
    I wonder if the selection process of care workers is sufficiently stringent?

  • Comment number 63.

    If you are in receipt of Job Seeker's Allowance, you are required to sign a statement that you have 'done no work paid or unpaid,' within the previous fortnight.

    That's one set of potential volunteers scuppered, then.

  • Comment number 64.

    1 volunteer is worth 20 pressed men. Perhaps "and those who want to get some financial benefit out of it" should be added to this quote.
    Whilst on the face of it this idea appears laudable, I think those receiving the care will not receive the best of attentions, and it will only serve to undermine the efforts of those who volunteer because they want to.

  • Comment number 65.

    If this is David Cameron's idea of a "Big Society" it has been about as well thought out as his Child Benefit proposals. When I was younger I did a lot of voluntary work with no thought for what I might get out of it for myself. That is the "Big Society" and one that operated before David Cameron was born. What a horrible thought that somebody was only helping you for what THEY would get out of it in later life. Another ill thought out plan. Come on Nick Clegg get sorting this lot out before we are all feeling you have let us down.

  • Comment number 66.

    I dont feel this would work on an everyday must do basis, by all means reward those who already do charity work and helping with old people voluntarily, but for the rest of us, it is not going to work. If we have a system whereby we have to do something like this, it will create a 2 teir care system for the elderly now and in the future.
    Besides, Child tax credits was supposed to be a good idea for the future and look what is happening to that.
    With each now broom that sweeps itself into power, old policies no matter how good or bad, if they dont meet the ethos of the new guard, they get changed. So, in 20 years time, if the scheme changes what happens to all these credits? also what happens if you dont need them? do people with credits get better care? do all the rest of us get zero care unless we do this? Just what is the bottom line here?
    No detail.. no deal.

  • Comment number 67.

    No it is a terrible idea, we should have an inalienable right to care in our old age we have contributed our lives to the cause of the nation and the nation owes us our dignity in the twilight of our lives.

    This is too important for gimics like a care bank, it is as important as the NHS and the government should focus on providing the resources required to deliver it.

  • Comment number 68.

    This may not go down too well with some people but here is another Fact!
    If every volunteer in this country was to withdraw their services I think it highly likely this country would collapse.

    Why do I say that? I have volunteered for various organisations and I have found that some of the charities are big business.
    Paid staff tend to be in the beaurocracy side of things (paid very well I might add) and the people who volunteer are the ones that keep some of those organisations going.
    Of course you will always have people giving with ulterior motives in mind but...the truth much as I agree with some people that there are those in this country who are selfish...there are many who are unpaid workers who keep this country afloat.
    Those genuine people do it because they are compassionate and give their time unconditionally.
    Without those people you would see what 'Broken Britain' really does mean!
    As to the credits thing, I say no. If the Government really wants to see caring in our society then the answer is to 'Lead by example' I mean, we are all in this together are we not?????

  • Comment number 69.

    OK, what about those who already care full-time for family members? My husband is unable to work because he cares for myself, our 18yr old disabled daughter and our 14yr old disabled son (whom we also home educate). He spent 22 years in HM Forces and had to retire at 40 as our care needs increased. We get no outside help and he has to deal with all our needs as well as the general day to day stuff and gets a whole £50 a week in cares allowance! Will he get all those hours in Care Credits?

    My concern is not only will it be an unfair system, but you will have people volunteering for all the wrong reasons and those people not actually care for those they are looking after.

    Then you have to look at whether these people are properly trained, supervised, screened and insured. That costs money.

    To me it sounds like the government just wants to get free workers and has, as always, not thought it through!

  • Comment number 70.

    62. At 12:24pm on 30 Oct 2010, Davy G wrote:

    Care Credits are a must if the services are to be improved. It would appear that some people within the service are only doing the bare minimum, if that, bearing in mind the condemnation of all the services with regard to the death of Baby P.
    I wonder if the selection process of care workers is sufficiently stringent?


    here we go lets blame the existing workers for the state of care in this country. We must not blame the exploitative owners /managers or the fact that wages are extremely poor, conditions are bad and that most care homes see this as a milch kow. It is cheaper and easier to sack the low paid immigrant or those without any skills who do not understand. Tories love this sort of thing blame the unemployed, blame the workers, blame the immigrants, blame the asylum seekers. Blame anyone else as long as the rich can stash away their illgotton gains without being seen, as long as they can make profit out of the rest of society. Where I live there are many care homes some are good but the majority are in it for making money. They sit an old person in a chair for hours in front of the T.V. feed them some gruel type mush that comes out of a 19th century slophouse The hygiene standards are just acceptable and they cram their homes to the maximum permissable. Yet when the owners hire the people to do the work it is with the least number of staff the most poorly paid people they can hire/fire. The owners have the best homes the newest car they do nothing but watch the money roll in often in the region of £100's a week. Yeah blame those that actually do the work then I can call myself a Tory. If people were paid a decent wage in this industry and it is an industry then we could attract the right sort of people to do the work. But it won't happen as long as it can be done at the lowest cost and the minimum of care at the maximum profit. Tories will object to any rise in standards and pay, thats why they want you to be part of the big society so that the volunteers do it for nothing.

  • Comment number 71.

    CELYN @ 48....You are right to highlight that point about con-artists and thieves who abuse the elderly while in their care. We recall a TV prog on which a hidden camera showed verbal abuse and theft being perpetrated on an elderly person. Of course not all care workers do those kind of behaviours, but they have happened. Measures must be brought in to safeguard the vulnerable and the elderly.
    Remember the P45 cards where we used to stick stamps to show you've paid your contribution for that week?...well something similar ought to be introduced for volunteer care workers, but before the credits are awarded, their charge(that is the elderly) should first be asked if they are satisfied and have been treated well for that particular week. If they haven't, then no credits but possible dismissal for the care worker. That way, everybody knows where they stand and prevent abuse.

  • Comment number 72.

    great idea can one of the cabinent please come and help out so that my extremly challanging disabled offspring does not cost her family an minimum of £32 per hour two to one care...i can just imagine the numbers of people beating down my door to take a turn at being bitten spat at kicked and generally abused whilst changing nappies on a fifteen stone young person..and yes as a parent i do volunteer my time to others but would be less inclined to do so if the volunteering was a trade off to support me as i become more vulnerable and frail.

  • Comment number 73.

    I suspect all so called "Voluteers", they tend to come from the Tory ranks of the" Blue rinse brigade" in tandem with their fellow travellers the "Twin set and pearl" owners. Why can't these people keep out of other poeples lives? In the main, I feel that these "do gooders" volunteer in order that they may pry into the lives of those who are less fortunate than themselves and then return rejoicing to their wealthy life styles and gloat over the misfortune of others. The state has a duty to protect those who have fallen on hard times. The last thing that is needed are Tory party supporters with bread and water for the poor.

  • Comment number 74.

    Who would train these "carers" and supervise them? Would you get the same credit for making a sandwich as for bathing someone or cleaning their bottom? What would happen if, during the time you were with the person, there was an accident or incident - would you lose credits? Who would insure you? What if you had an accident - say lifting someone heavy - and you injured yourself - would you get benefits if you could not work?

    Volunteers should not do for free what people ought to be paid for. By all mean do a bit of shopping, tidy a garden or walk a dog - but leave proper caring to waged people.

  • Comment number 75.

    Running the local library, helping out at the local school, mending the road, caring for the elderly - how many hours do these people think there are in an average day? The reason these services are not provided by volunteers is that there are not enough people with enough free time to do it. That's why the welfare state was invented. It is more efficient for these services to be provided by full-time staff paid for through taxes than to rely on a rag-tag army of well-meaning but unaccountable volunteers.

  • Comment number 76.

    It works in Japan because it is no doubt was properly thought through and is administered properly.

    This Government is clutching at straws in the popularity stakes.

  • Comment number 77.

    First of all. If carers are doing it for reward it is not voluntary. Secondly. Do we really expect Government to honour any payments in the future. I am sorry The question is, Are 'care credits' a good idea? The answer to that is of cause not.

    How would you clock in and out? How many hours would you have to do a week? Would you need qualifications? Then we would have the accusations of abuse of the system like everything they want to avoid paying out for.

    We all have paid into National Insurance. This insurance has been paid into by our great grandparents, grandparents, our parents, then us. This insurance was paid by us to insure against health, unemployment, welfare and care in old age. This was always done in the community and in council run homes. Now it is done by private care homes were shareholder and profit comes first and staff and resources are minimal like the care they provide.

    National insurance was our inheritance but our Gangster Governments Lumped it together with Income Tax and gave it to The Banks leaving us destitute and in debt. Old age care is becoming a thing of the past. We are living longer and that seems to be a bad thing for The Bankers, so expect euthanasia to rear it's fascist head for those who are poor and unable to pay for private care.

    National Insurance was our inheritance and we want it back!

  • Comment number 78.

    I feel more than a little concerned by this latest form of social engineering. It has its parallels in the now all pervasive CCTV surveillance network that exists in the UK now.

    As Children we were all offered "bribes" of sweets or pocket money to conform to the values of Parents school teachers or society in general. If we didn't conform, there were consequences; no sweets or pocket money, detention or corporal punishment at school or detention at HM's pleasure. Nothing wrong with that you might say, and of course without rules we have anarchy, so I am not advocating a "lord of the Flies" charter for our children.

    As Adults though, we are nominally the decision makers, refining and making new laws and values. We do this partly by taking part in the debate but mainly by our votes.

    We vote and then pay taxes to enable politicians to put into practice our values and fulfil our wishes.

    I was brought up believing that the the National Health service, social services, pensions etc. were a "cradle to Grave" right. If we as a society wish to have this right then obviously the funds have to be found to pay for it.

    Since when does a Conservative or even Liberal politician believe in the "nanny state".

    I am not in a position to be a carer being a disabled person myself, and so would not have any "credit" in my old age, so I for one would not benefit from this. I am sure others too will have reasons why they cannot take an active part in helping the old and disabled.

    Does this mean we would not have the same rights as others?

    How many of us would feel pressured into voluntary service just to ensure our comfort in old age?

    How well do you think someone will work if they are being forced into it, and would you employ someone to look after your parents who you knew were only doing it in exchange for a payback in their old age?

    Better surely to pay someone NOW for work they do, then tax them along with everyone. This is a form of debt deferment by another name.

    The "Big Society" is a wooly concept - dare I say it a deceitful or cynical concept.

    Rather than dealing with the reality of higher taxation or a measured repayment of the underlying debt in order to pay for a"Big" and "fair" society, we are presented with more "smoke and mirror" solutions.

    What we are being offered is sleight of hand. Create an artificial "voluntary" "Big" society and in the meantime we won't notice the underfunding of the NHS, we won't notice that the poor and vulnerable of our society will suffer, we won't notice that only the very well off can live in our Cities. We won't notice until the bill comes in long after Cameron and Clegg are left sedated in their respective retirement homes!

    I haven't even started on the notion that this is a social engineering project which will have long reaching consequences to ciil liberty.

    Lets not walk into this with our eyes shut or we will open them to discover the batsman has broken our zimmer frame!

  • Comment number 79.

    5. At 09:47am on 30 Oct 2010, Raymond Hopkins wrote:

    If a job is worth doing, it's worth a salary. As a rapidly approaching elderly myself, I would find it distasteful to have to rely on voluntary help, and would much prefer a properly paid, professional care. It sounds to be a way of getting labour on the cheap, I would say.

    Spot on Raymond Hopkins!. But this is a Tory government we are dealing with, so expect everything but get paid for nothing. It just goes to show really how much thought and most of all care goes into their policies on looking after the elderly and needy.

    In plain English, which I might add the Tories don't do. 'They don't give a damn'.

  • Comment number 80.

    I'm not sure how the Goverment makes its decisions but I'll assume they
    have advisors.
    So, how about this for a plan:

    The leader of each organisation Social Services, NHS, in fact any publically funded service, goes out into the sector it covers for a month. i.e. the head (and the advisor to the Government) of the NHS spends a month actually in the hospital experiencing it on an hourly and daily basis undercover as say porters. (sound familiar?) The same happens with the others. They then make moral and financial decisions on what they need (to run efficiently and fairly) by what they see, to the Government.

    Now, not only would that generate a realistic report of what really goes on but any waste or people not pulling their weight would be discovered. Of course they would also have a good idea about what works and a realistic picture of what could be improved.

    Now no increase in wages would be necessary because to be 'Fair' those at the top already get quite a good wack and as the Government keeps reminding us, 'We are all in this together.'

    This stratagy could root out waste, reveal to those in charge what is really going on and of course show them the real world and how the services in place truly affect people.
    The persons then advise the Government on what needs to improve or not.
    If their advise then fails, turns out to be wrong, after experiencing first hand the running of their own organisations then both advisors should be replaced.
    People could also be encouraged to give feedback on the 'Improved' service they receive.
    I have an idea how those in charge of these organisations might react to my suggestion are getting a good rate of pay and if you worked in the Private sector you would be expected to do whatever it takes to improve your business. Same rules apply in my book, if not more so.
    Just a suggestion from a Brit *smile*
    I'd do it.
    The point is, whoever IS advising the Government doesn't live in the real world and they need a taste of it!

  • Comment number 81.

    Great idea, then we can have another 30,000 civil service jobs to administer the scheme. The cost of administering this idiotic idea will probably be more than the cost of care. The people who come up with those stupid ideas should be removed from office and replaced by a block of wood.

  • Comment number 82.

    Big society, what big society ? Care being administered by unqualified un regulated carers, no police checks no training. Where are the checks and balances that will prevent neglect, physical mental or financial abuse? After fifty years of paying tax and national insurance contributions our elderly citizens deserve better than this, and any politician advocating this should be mindful of the power of the grey vote.

  • Comment number 83.

    Agree with, and recommend post #76 @ 1:25pm on 30 Oct - 'ziggyboy'.

    Japan's full version I would trust because of their respectful culture of elders and infirm.

    However, I would not trust our UK governments politicians' cherry picking convenient/selective versions of Japan's system at all. Anymore than I would trust cherry-picked Swedish schools ideas by Michael Gove.

    Thus far, we have not heard enough about this 'tease' from this Government.

    Floating new ideas based on decent and pragmatic philosphies and cultures from other countries is very welcome.

    BUT this Government has yet to prove their decency with what we have now ......

  • Comment number 84.

    A good idea? No - I'm a volunteer and it's a disgusting idea.

    Volunteers are people who give their time to help charities. They are not are people who step into the jobs of professionals, least of all, public service workers who have been given the boot.

    Perhaps that ex council dustman would like to help to get a few points to put towards his granny's supper. Or are we poor, jobless, homeless souls going to be left with no choice except to dance for our dinners?

    With the switch to privatized public service, (no such thing, because the costly side of good public service is balanced by the cheap side), we are going to have quiet, profitable, (Conservative), areas nicely patrolled and blackspots become raging infernos.

    DC's Big Society doesn't exist. 'Us and them' further and further apart.

  • Comment number 85.

    No – I won’t become a part of this ridiculous scheme; I can see straight through the reasons behind this.

    I used to be a volunteer and I then became a salaried staff member for a small local health charity. Over the years it became obvious to me that, despite the good work they do, charities and volunteers just allow the Government of the day to opt out of its responsibilities.

    Hospices, hospitals and charities caring for vulnerable children, to name but three, are being kept afloat by amateurs. These are core services that should be properly funded by Government.

    Why does great Ormond Street Hospital have to advertise on TV for donations? It’s an NHS hospital so why isn’t it given the money it needs to provide its services? Why does the British Legion have to beg for funds via its Poppy Appeal? Why was I, a volunteer, sitting with a dying patient when she should have had a trained nurse with her?

    I’m retired now and I no longer volunteer or donate to charity – I firmly believe that as a country we should not be relying on the goodwill (and money) of the general public.

  • Comment number 86.

    These credits complement the healthcare insurance program payable in Yen (Japanese currency).
    Many Japanese prefer to transfer part or all of their Hureai Kippu credits to their parents who sometimes live in another part of the country. There are two (2) electronic clearing houses which carry out transfers.
    The most important thing to have emerged since founding in 1991, is that the care-recipients generally experience a higher quality of care in their relationships with Hureai Kippu care-givers.
    But the most exciting point about this Hureai Kippu example is that people are innovating within the monetary domain, and they are obtaining better results. This while the majority of polticians remain woefully ignorant about the potential of other methodoligies to solve monetary problems.
    This is a very good example of what I see as the future of "currency". Currency will change from paper (worthless fiat money) into the provision of valued service (e.g. energy provision or ecological sustainability).
    I can just hear Wall-Street going absolutely berserk!!
    The late Nobel Economic laureate Milton Friedman once remarked: "Money is too important to be left to central bankers. You essentially have a group of unelected people who have enormous power to affect the economy."
    In short, I believe that "hureai kippu" is a small step on a very correct direction. If worthless papaer money can be so highly valued, why not quality service?

  • Comment number 87.

    One can easily guage Britains distance from sheer & common humanity by government measures of this kind.Its so depressing to hear that people are asked to care for the elderly(folks who require far more than a mechanical arm wiping drool from the side of their mouths)just so these 'helpers' can store credit for their own later years - and not for any kindness towards the helpless.How sad.

    Is this all Darwin and Dawkins' doing that in keeping with your traced root to apes you must all be without any real human feelings?Truly was it said by a much maligned text that 'natural affection' would be in short supply in our times.

  • Comment number 88.

    I would not trust these crooks to look after a piggy bank.

  • Comment number 89.

    I don't trust this idea at all. I already care full time for my disabled partner & the only recognition I get is £53 per week taxable benefit, no perks no freebies. Does this government think we're fools? Do they really think that for the promise of care in our dotage people will suddenly start caring for the elderly & disabled? I don't think so. The socially aware are already used & abused, guilted in to taking care of sick & elderly relatives because we don't trust the 'care' the state provides. Care in old age is a right NOT a privilege to be earned.

  • Comment number 90.

    Take away disabled benefit and replace it with flakey volunteers or abusers?

    As a disabled person I have heard so many stories about sexual abuse and theft from unregulated carers.I would rather be alone than be abused!

    Do we actually pay people in the civil service money for these ideas?This is the place to start cutting non jobs asap?

    It's not the civil servants who come up with these ideas it's the deranged government we somehow ended up with!
    I agree entirely this would be the place to start cutting jobs asap!

  • Comment number 91.

    76. At 1:25pm on 30 Oct 2010, ziggyboy wrote:

    It works in Japan because it is no doubt was properly thought through and is administered properly.

    This Government is clutching at straws in the popularity stakes.

    Popularity! Is that how you judge politicians? No wonder you appear so negative in all your postings.

  • Comment number 92.

    This is just sick to the core. With each passing day I fear a little more the country that these people want to create. Labour were awful but this lot don't even have any humanity to guide their lost ideas.

  • Comment number 93.

    1 volunteer is worth 20 pressed men. Perhaps "and those who want to get some financial benefit out of it" should be added to this quote.
    I would rather have one trained and paid nurse than 20 untrained volunteers thanks very much!

  • Comment number 94.

    At 10:51am on 30 Oct 2010, The Crimson Avenger wrote:
    the sooner we get a general election the better.


    We've just had a general election and unfortunately the majority of idiots in this country voted for the Tories....tough luck
    Actually the majority voted not to have the Tories but we still got them any way, now that's what I call tough luck or a bloody disaster if you prefer!

  • Comment number 95.

    I'm surprised that no-one has suggested introducing an "Elderly Benefit".

    Similar to Child Benefit but paid to families to help look after their elderly relatives in old age.

  • Comment number 96.

    Judging by his comments, Frank Kirkton (post no. 73) has never been a volunteer.
    I can assure you, Mr Kirkton that no volunteer is motivated as you suggest. Rather it is about making a positive difference to individuals' lives.
    But never fear, Mr Kirkton, if ever you need help from the voluntary sector, you will find that even the most cantankerous and miserable individuals are treated with equal courtesy and respect.

  • Comment number 97.

    I had tried being a carer for my old mum when she was alive and it's blooming hard work! This is not a job you take on with just a politicians "belief" to motivate you, it needs cash and training up front.
    To go in cold as a volunteer is a crazy idea and likely to cause the early death of the fragile person you thought you could help.

  • Comment number 98.

    Re KB @96 Indeed I have never had the services of a "volunteer" in fact I would rather die than than allowe one of these Tory motivated individuals into my home inorder that they could laugh and didne4 out on their tales of my home life.

  • Comment number 99.

    Steve, I haven't noted any reference that would indicate that volunteers would be undertaking nursing duties. That said, any volunteer for whatever organisation will have to undergo training and CRB checks before they are able to undertake their duties.

  • Comment number 100.

    86. At 2:05pm on 30 Oct 2010, BluesBerry

    You do make this sound a very attractive proposition
    and anything that drives "Wall-Street ... berserk!!" I'm all for.
    Trouble is that Japanese society still remembers a social structure based on its heritage and legacies of the code of Bushidō. They understand the word honour. Unfortunately the word honour in English has no meaning or we would not use it when referring to politicians. Look how the rich use the law to their own advantage when they stick to the letter of the rather than the spirit of the law, then throw it back in the faces of those that they have trodden on by having their high paid lawyers argue the letter over the spirit.
    Honour is a word that you find in a dictionary and not in the actions of anyone in a position of power. That is, after all, how they attain such positions.

    I have to suggest that the cultural differences would mean this has no chance of success in this country.

    This proposal really does smack of utter desperation.
    I'd rather have a government that squares up the economy and ensures decent wages for all. Then we can make our own decisions on what provisions we wish to make for our own dotage or rely on the state that under these circumstances would itself be in a better position to provide.


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