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The vexed question of how to fund social care

Nick Robinson | 10:06 UK time, Tuesday, 30 March 2010

It is a big idea, a grand ambition summed up in a resonant phrase - the national care service.

There is, however, still no plan to realise that goal within the foreseeable future.

Andy BurnhamIn a giveaway phrase the Health Secretary Andy Burnham spoke on the radio this morning about taking "the momentous decision to say in principle" that the cost of paying for social care should - like the NHS - be met on a population-wide, risk-sharing basis.

Mr Burnham insists that he's taking steps on "the journey" to making that principle a reality, including plans to pay for the care at home of those in the most severe need and today's pledge to meet the costs of those in residential care after two years. But it is quite a journey. If Labour is re-elected there will be a commission (another one) to agree the vexed question of how to fund social care in England. In order to reassure voters scared by Tory posters warning of a "death tax", ministers have decided to pledge that the idea could not become law in the next Parliament.

The "death tax" is not, in fact, dead but it has been reduced to an option to be considered by a new Commission whose proposals would not become law until after a second election - in other words not until after 2016.

The Tories reject the idea of a compulsory tax arguing, instead, for a voluntary £8,000 insurance levy which would cover the costs of residential care but not care in the home. Critics highlight their lack of ambition compared with the scale of the challenge as well as the fear that this is an option that would only be taken up by the relatively well-off.

So, what we have today is an important clash of principles - an unspecified universal tax to pay for care you might not need versus a voluntary levy, which many might not choose or feel able to afford to take up, leaving them still vulnerable to losing their savings and their homes.

The fashionable cry is for politicians to simply stop bickering and get on with coming up with the answer. I look forward to those people lining up to volunteer to pay thousands of pounds in tax - whether before or after their death, whether as a voluntary or compulsory levy.

There is a reason this is an issue that has yet to be resolved. It's hugely expensive, very complex and voters don't much like being asked to pay for something they might not actually need.

Comments

Page 1 of 5

  • Comment number 1.

    Forgive me for being niaive but I thought that NI was to pay for pensions and care etc. Bevan and co will be spinning in their graves.

  • Comment number 2.

    You''re right Nick, it is a fundamental test and the Tories flunked it. They used this important issue as a stick to beat Labour when they should have been taking part in a mature debate instead and encouraging the public to take part. How should social care be funded? Should everyone be entitled to it? Or only those with the foresight and the money to insure themselves?

    Actually, it makes sense for the Tories not to be involved. When it comes down to the many versus the few we know they favour the latter every single time.

  • Comment number 3.

    There is only a 'vexed question' in the minds of those who do not understand the social contact under which we pay taxes. Taxes are paid to fund the state in the provision of services that the individual citizen is not able to provide for himself. The concept of 'from each according to his ability, to each according to his need' holds good - taxes are not a service charge but an equitable way of enabling the state to fulfil its responsibilities and meet its obligations - obligations it incurs by the act of asking that tax be paid in the first place.

    Unfortunately the greatest ignorance of this social contract seems to be found amongst politicians, for whom the idea of incurring an obligation and meeting it in an appropriate manner seems to be impossible to grasp.

  • Comment number 4.

    National Care Service - another 'nanny state' wheeze, masquerading as a 'good idea', the only tangible results of which will be to increase bureaucracy and reliance on 'the State' at a cost to everyone.

    OK, Saga - I suspect that statement will set you going! (nice to see, by the way, that you appear to have been allowed back to keep us all in order!). But as Nick points out, the first step will be yet another Commission (more public sector jobs and expense to the taxpayer)and the decisions will be deferred for another five years or so.

    What happened to the notion that people were expected (even encouraged) to make provision for themselves? Have we really arrived at a situation where we have to be forced to do things the way our lords and masters decree 'in the name of fairness for all'? The only 'fair' way of funding this would be (IMHO) to introduce another NI-type tax payable by all during their working lives. Otherwise, whether 'voluntary contribution of 8000' or 'death tax', all that will happen is that people will decide not to contribute - if necessary by spending all their assets.

    As my great grandfather replied, when sent the information about the NHS when it started "Thank you very much, but i don't wish to join".

  • Comment number 5.

    Unfunded, ill thought through, unfair and as usual another tax rise on the cards from a demented government that had thriteen years to sort this out but fudged the issue until the last minute.

    Thirteen years of inaction and they accuse the tories of using a wrecking ball with their previous idea of a death tax.

    Thirteen years of inaction and they want to rush this through all of a suddden.

    Carry on wobbling newlabour ... opinion polls on the way back down again after your brief moment in the sun .. or was it sunset after the latest 'muesli advert' relaunch?

    Such a shame because 'Sure Start' had such a reassuring ring to it, didn't it? I'll bet the newlabour pollsters were pleased with themselves abiout that little policy weren't they? And now they think they'll get another reassuring little policy on the statute books weeks before a general election... all paid for with someone else's money.

    It''s all getting a bit silly really. Alistair Darling failing to land a single blow on George Osborne last night but walking into a trap about his death tax policy reversal. And how Uncle Alistair struggled to look the considered grandfather of the community now he wasn't standing behind the despatch box reading the selected highlights of his budget. How vulnerable he sounded now he's having to defend the most savage butchering of public spending since Thatcher; only revealed in the small print. How obvious that the hand of Gordon is still all oevr his public statements.

    As for Vince; a feeble attempt to justify his 'calling this one right' just sounded like a bunch of sour grapes.

    It's all over. Gordon Brown should get on with it and call the general election now. Looking forward to his own attempt to squeeze Lord Cashcroft inot one of his one minute replies in a live debate and sound as grasping as Darling did last night.

    That's the sad truth for newlbaour now; they have begun to look grasping. Grasping for a retrun to the old days of easy money, tax and spend, more and more public sector love ins, GMTV sofa moments of mutual admiration and the whole 'prolier than thou' agenda.

    It's so over for these boys.

    Call an election.

  • Comment number 6.

    The idea of a National Care Service would be a good thing if we had the money or any chance of the money in the not too distant future. But we don't so it's nothing more than an aspiration along with motherhood and apple-pie.

    I am in the middle of selling my mother's house to pay for her care as she has senile dementia and went into a nursing home late last year. It was a tragic and difficult process but you adjust.

    To my mind selling her home and using up her savings to keep her safe, warm and well-fed for her final years is only right. She saved that money for a rainy day and it is now pouring. I do not resent it.

    What I do resent is politicians making promises and raising expectations which cannot be met. My mother went from her own home to a nursing home not because she was exactly senile but because she fell, broke her hip and ended up in hospital. She cannot now walk independently. For nearly nine months she stayed in her own home deteriorating mentally and, apart from my visits, the meals on wheels and a carer who called to ensure she took her medecine she saw nobody. She had to pay for the meals and the carer which an excellent local social services department facilitated. To argue that staying in her own home helped her was nonsense: it was her wish but looking back it was hopeless.

    I think what is driving policy is not a desire to help the infirm elderly but a fear that with the collapse in pension income more and more will qualify for the free care as their savings will be less than the GBP 22.4k ceiling after which one has to pay.

    I think Mr. Burnham and this government should confess that this has more to do with saving government money, distracting attention from the huge deficit and massive debt, appeasing middle class voters who want to inherit loadsamoney and seducing the simple into thinking the government cares.

    Since when did a government care for anyone other than itself?

  • Comment number 7.

    I cant see how any party will ever convince the population of this for the very reason you mention in the last paragraph.

    Also, the thought of paying a death tax is just sickening, I am not wealthy and 10% of nothing is still nothing, but I want to achieve and I want to leave my daughter with as much as humanly possible.

    Can anyone convince me why this is a good idea when the National Insurance payments are going to go up as well (I dont believe for a second that the Tories will avoid this if they get in).

    Saga, I have sent over something on the last blog to you, following you asking about where my vote will end up.

  • Comment number 8.

    How could you be so naive Exiledscot52, next you'll be thinking that the road tax is used to fund road repairs/improvements!

  • Comment number 9.

    1. At 10:21am on 30 Mar 2010, Exiledscot52 wrote:
    Forgive me for being niaive but I thought that NI was to pay for pensions and care etc. Bevan and co will be spinning in their graves.

    I'm afraid not my friend. These days NI is a mechanism by which Labour can increase income tax without raising the headline rate. They can then waste this money on whichever useless project has taken their fancy. Or employ some more of their voters in non jobs. Or give to some more of their voters in benefits while they refuse to work.

    Balls

  • Comment number 10.

    Nick wrote: "In a giveaway phrase the Health Secretary Andy Burnham spoke on the radio this morning about taking "the momentous decision to say in principle" that the cost of paying for social care should - like the NHS - be met on a population-wide, risk-sharing basis."

    It is, indeed, a giveaway phrase; the question that should be posed is, at what point did 'social care' STOP being part of the NHS? As I grow old the NHS will replace my hips, treat my fractures from falls, remove my cataracts, give me free prescriptions. If I develop Alzheimer's, that is an illness just as much as cancer, so why shouldn't the care that such an illness dictates be free at the point of delivery?

    Yes, I realise the answer is, because it is horrifically expensive, but ignoring this issue has led us to where we are now; caught between the rock of increasing numbers of people being forced to sell their homes to pay for vital care, or the hard place of higher taxes (for compulsory insurance is just a tax under another name) to enable the state to provide at least a basic level of care to those who need it.

  • Comment number 11.

    Now let's see - the National Care Service. A system where people who have made provision for their old age will be compelled to also pay for those who didn't bother. Caledonian Comment

  • Comment number 12.

    it seems an easy moral question to answer. a system of national social care. where the elderly are looked after well and treated with respect. and the carers are paid a good wage (not just above minimum wage). of course how to pay for it...gets all the feathers ruffled. perhaps the death tax is a good idea. means testing is a good way forward for this. whatever system/tax is introduced....it has to be implemented...and any whining about the cost should be secondary.
    this is also a good example of how workers cooperatives could run care homes. higher wages for the carers and a much larger proportion of profits being redistributed directly back to the elderly.... rather than a single owner of the care home scrimping on wages and other care costs to fund yet another villa in spain. simple.

  • Comment number 13.

    I should imagine that Labour will continue to just refer everyone back to their own care. Same as they have done with everything that 'improves' the NHS.

    The rule of thumb with health care at the moment is get everyone back out, back home and to be someone elses problem - my aren't we efficient!

    As long you are in agony in your own home and don't clog up our shiny hospitals thats the main thing. Oh and we will take all your cash to fund our expensive consultants when your gone.

    Oh and don't think about blaming Labour - its your fault you're ill!

  • Comment number 14.

    Nick you have not blamed Lord Ashcroft for this issue. What's up?
    Do you really get £250,000 a year?

  • Comment number 15.

    It should be funded out of National insurance, as this was one of the reason National insurance was set up in the first place. A levy of any sort seems grossly unfair. For example if relatives have looked after their mother and never used care homes, why should they pay. Indeed a levy is an encourage not to look after them in future. Also what happens if a person dies young in an accident for example, why should their estate be taxed. In many cases they may have dependents who need the money from their estate more than the government does.

  • Comment number 16.

    "Charentais wrote:

    The only 'fair' way of funding this would be (IMHO) to introduce another NI-type tax payable by all during their working lives."

    How is that a fair way of paying for it? All that will mean is that the current generation would pay for social care to the Boomer "we want the state to provide us with everything at every stage of our lives" generation.

    I actually think that the contribution cost of paying for this is the best way to go. The younger generations are struggling to pay off student debts, and afford their own futures the older generations should not be allowed to spend big and leave their children and grandchildren with the cheque.

  • Comment number 17.

    The answer is quite simple. Spend some time eradicating welfare abuse, halt immigration and guest worker entry until the unemployment is down to a single percentage point, stop wasting public money fighting American oil wars and halt all overseas aid payments until we have our own house in order. Do all of these and there will be plenty of cash in the kitty to fund a social care programme - even with Gordon Brown and his little Darling mismanaging the funds.

  • Comment number 18.

    It's the usual story - the winners are those who never saved, many never worked. The losers are those who acquired assets and an income.

    What most frightens me is that it will become a National Care Service based on the lines of the National Health Service and we all know what that's like: understaffed at the level that counts (doctors, nurses) overbloated with managers and administration, bureaucratic and inconsistent in treatment offered per region. You bet, as usual, the business of Care will go to the lowest bidder. How many times will we be made to hear "Lessons will be learned" when things go wrong. We know they'll go wrong under government control and nobody will be held to account.

    It's this sort of thing that makes me terrified of getting old.

    Let's hope all the interferers will allow me my instructions under my Living Will.

  • Comment number 19.

    Am I in a minority in my belief that we have saved and put money into our 'bank', the house, so that we can have a more comfortable old age and pay for the best care possible. If or when the time comes for us to move into residential care we will 'cash in' the house so that we can pay for our care thus reducing the responsibility on our children who are all making their own way in this world and not expecting a hand out on our death. One alternative for those people who have children that want an inheritance on the death of their parents is to have them to live with and care for them when they are ill and unable to care for themselves. You either have the 'body' or spend the money on care.

  • Comment number 20.

    Morning Robin (5). Was Osborne involved in the debate? Can't say I noticed him. You must have extra High Definition.

  • Comment number 21.

    9. At 10:52am on 30 Mar 2010, U14342801 wrote:
    These days NI is a mechanism by which Labour can increase income tax without raising the headline rate. They can then waste this money on whichever useless project has taken their fancy. Or employ some more of their voters in non jobs. Or give to some more of their voters in benefits while they refuse to work.

    Balls


    A useful summation in your final paragraph.

  • Comment number 22.

    I suppose I was unthinking.....Son will someone explain the difference between NI and tax. As a lad I was always told that NI was to fund the NHS, pensions and your security in old age. Income tax and other similar taxes were to fund government spending, the army, police, civil service etc.

    So they(Iuse that to mean politicians in general) are proposing we pay another tax, purporting to be to protect us in our old age and they want us to belive them, Road Tax is a perfect example.

  • Comment number 23.

    I agree completely with Exiledscot52 at No.1
    Amost everything originally covered by NI, including pensions, has now been means tested by successive Governments.
    And basic health care will undoubtedly follow if the Tories have their way.

  • Comment number 24.

    # Caledonian Comment

    Got it in one! Tax the thrifty to pay for the feckless. Same old Labour!

  • Comment number 25.

    Nick

    So Andrew lansley said he would not co-operate with Labour if they insisted on a Death Tax but Labour wanted to play politics saying that the Tories were the block to agreement.

    BUT Labour have now dropped their Death Tax until after the election so the talks could have continued if Labour had not played politics with the issue?

    Typical spin as always fro Labour.

  • Comment number 26.

    Vexed question indeed - especially as regards the elderly. And here’s the answer. The principle of unlimited free care for the elderly, non means tested, is one to which we should aspire. A goal we can sign up to. We’ll get there too, but right now we can’t afford it. Deficit. We can do something though. Take a step towards the goal. We can up the MT threshold for receiving the free care from the current (miserly) £21k to a more suitable level. £100k springs to mind and stays there. Less of this distressing “she had to sell the house” business. Such a step will still cost a bit. Billions of pounds per annum, something of that order. So how to fund it? Two options. There’s the pretend way – saying we’ll fund it by cutting “waste” in other areas. Ho Ho Ho and a bottle of rum. This is called the pretend way to fund care for the elderly because it’s the one selected by all the people who pretend to care about care for the elderly. But we’re serious, aren’t we? We DO care. Good, so the other option – the way to go – is via an increase in IHT. We can call it a Death Tax if that makes it sound a bit less nasty and threatening. It’s all about death this (isn’t it?) – or the ante room – and so a Death Tax is the tool for the job. Yep. So to summarise ... enhanced (but not unlimited) care for the elderly paid for via a Death Tax. No dissent allowed on this one. Campo Correcto.

  • Comment number 27.

    2. At 10:32am on 30 Mar 2010, APbbforum wrote:
    You''re right Nick, it is a fundamental test and the Tories flunked it.
    ====================================

    Interesting so you would be in favour of carers that put themselves out to look after the own family member at home then have 20% Death Tax to pay to others who just want push their relatives onto the state?


    Can we just cut to the chase shall I just put you down as a dependant for my tax form then you can leach off me properly?

  • Comment number 28.

    2#

    Partisan bilge.

  • Comment number 29.

    #16 Mark_WE:

    Actually, Mark, I agree with you! I don't support ANY of this idea (as you might see if you read between the lines!). All I was suggesting was that a lifetime contribution is 'fairer' than a one-off sting which some would avoid by (as you suggest) spending it all first, and others wouldn't be able to meet as a lump sum.

    Just waiting for Saga's post at #20 to clear the mods, to see what the CPT view is!

  • Comment number 30.

    I am not prepared to pay any compulsory or voluntary levy, tax or premium solely so that some people can pass care of their relatives onto the state in the expectations that they will inherit a larger sum of money.

    If you want someone else to look after your family then pay for it, if that uses up all their savings, well so be it but that was what they saved it for wasn't it?
    If you want to look after your family yourself and make the sacrifices that entails in the expectation of getting a larger inheritance instead - that also is fine.

    It pushes my red button when I hear large numbers of people wanting someone else to pay for care so their inheritance will be larger.

    If this is a desire of the voters then it has to be paid for fairly and by all or it has to be consigned to back burner for when we can actually afford to fund it - sometime 2100 or so.

  • Comment number 31.

    re-12.
    so in conjuction with the banks lending again, the govt gradually introduces co-operative compulsory purchase orders. if those who work in the nursing home get together and want to run the business themselves, after consultation and a pre-approved business plan, the owner has to sell it to them (preferential loan from the bank). they then take a share in all net profits..boosting considerably their wages and the tax they pay. other profits are redistributed towards better care in the care home. ie. better meals, extra staff, entertainment, trips outside of the care home for the residents...basically an improvement on everything thats going on now.
    of course i could expand on this for hours...but the basic premis is a good one and a forward thinking progressive policy!

  • Comment number 32.

    Perhaps we could cancel Trident to pay for it. Or Typhoon.

    Or perhaps we could use the money we lent the Banks. (If we ever get it back).

    Perhaps we could remove the ad-infinitum levels of bureaucracy, or perhaps the government could stop being the Nation's biggest purchaser of TV advertising, or larger claimants of personal expenses, or perhaps we could stop corporations avoiding their taxation responsibilities, or ban Capital Gains Tax for Hedge funds, or anything, anything at all rather than dump it all at the foot of the people of this country.

    In fact, seeing as all politicians are so absolutely appalling at anything to do with competent governance and administration, moral leadership or plain common sense, why don't we sack the lot of them and employ proper management. The levels of stupidity on display at the moment would disqualify them from any position of responsibility in the real, hard-working, over-taxed and over-stressed world that we mere humans have to endure because of these bozos.

    Illness is covered by the NHS. This is not patient-choice-Dentistry. It is fundamental care. If the government is saying that they cannot afford it, then like us all, they have to stop spending vast sums on things they actually cannot afford, like all of the above, or Nuclear Energy, or Company Jags, or Committees to Investigate the impact of Rectal Relaxation on the Farming Community and Other Implications for the Future of Food Chain management, or whatever it is they waste their time dreaming up while the rest of us are trying to pay the bills.

  • Comment number 33.

    Nick,

    Could you please explain how such funding of social care for the elderly is to be achieved in Scotland, where both the current PM and his Chancellor have their constituencies? I presume that this additional tax, call it a levy but it is still a tax, is to be imposed only in England. Is frailty in old age something not experienced in Scotland and Wales?

    This looks very much like the West Lothian question in action, and yet it attracts very little comment by such as you.

  • Comment number 34.

    6#

    Bang on the money again Stanilic. Well summed up.

  • Comment number 35.

    We are supposed to be encouraged to save for our old age. My wife's ISA account with Abbey/Santander earned a whopping 0.1% in interest (tax free wow !). The banks rip us off left, right and centre. You move to a different bank with a better rate and then after a while they cut it right down.

  • Comment number 36.

    As my parents age I'm grateful that they have a house that they own outright so that it can be sold to pay for care home bills, shoudl the need arise. I do not want to inherit a penny from them that could have been spent looking after them and don't understand why I should expect the State to pick up the tab so that I get a few quid. At the same time, I do not expect my parents to have to pay an extra tax for something that they haven't used, particularly given the vast NI contributions that they have made through their working lives, which, as has been pointed out, were designed to pay for social care.

    And I look at my three young children and marvel that anyone could imagine them being able to stump up £8000 or even £800 during their working lives, given that most of their income will go on paying off debt, their own from university and the State's.

  • Comment number 37.

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain.

  • Comment number 38.

    SAGA @26

    Complete piffel Saga. You need to get your man Brown to stop using National Insurance to fund his nanny state projects and to buy votes and instead use if for its intended purpose. We ALREADY pay tax for care in old age. GET BROWN TO STOP SPENDING IT FOR HIS OWN ENDS.

  • Comment number 39.

    It's strange how some people talk about elderly people who have worked hard and saved, and who wish to either give some of their money to their children, or heaven forbid, buy a villa in Spain, as somehow being evil and immoral. When I've paid income taxes, NI, VAT, Council Tax, Stamp Duty, pension dividend tax, and on top of that I've managed to save enough through being prudent all my life to look after myself and my family, then I really don't see why I should be compelled to pay even more. I don't object to paying a fair level of tax and contributing to society, but this is just a step too far. The whole scheme is just a ruse for the government to raise revenue to fund their profligacy. Had GB not raided 5 billion a year from our pension funds for the past 12 years then maybe we wouldn't have such a crisis with the elderly.

  • Comment number 40.

    I dont like it one bit. Listening to the arguments for and against I just cant see why it should be introduced.

    I watched a programme last night on two problem children that got sent to UTAH to live with Mormons. The girl that was sent there was 17, she had a child and used to go out on the drink two nights a week. Also took drugs and smoked.

    She informed the family that she had been trying for a baby since 14!

    At the end of it, she had learnt very little, but I did think it had got through to her a little, only to hear her say when she picked up her baby, "Oh, I want another one"...

    This left me thinking that she is clearly never ever going to look for work, she is already receiving benefits without ever putting anything in and now I am supposed to assist her with when she gets old as well...

    It just seems wrong, obviously I want to see her child fed and warm, but I would send the end product each week (30 nappies, enough milk for feeding, baby food etc).

    I cant see why, when this and all other governments have failed so miserably to get the benefits system into order, they are even thinking about finding new ways to take my money.

    Does anyone disagree with my view? I am happy to have my head turned and see it from another angle, but it will take some turning.

  • Comment number 41.

    Frankly the State needs to butt out of everyone's business. If old age care funding is provided by the state I can see exactly what will happen. This useless Government will have no idea of how to negotiate a reasonable fee for the care resulting in MORE waste, and spongers in the industry itself. If you want somebody to look after your old mam, then negotiate a fee with the care home and pay for it. SIMPLE. Let the market decide the value to this service, and if people don't want to pay it then do it yourself.

  • Comment number 42.

    32#

    Jacob, I salute you. Well said! {applause}

  • Comment number 43.

    31#

    Stop sniffing the marker pens, they rot your brain.

  • Comment number 44.

    23. At 11:40am on 30 Mar 2010, John of Weston-super-Mare wrote:

    I agree completely with Exiledscot52 at No.1
    Amost everything originally covered by NI, including pensions, has now been means tested by successive Governments.
    And basic health care will undoubtedly follow if the Tories have their way.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------

    And you base that on what, exactly???

  • Comment number 45.

    20 sagamix

    "Was Osborne involved in the debate? Can't say I noticed him. You must have extra High Definition."
    ====================================================

    He must have impressed you if you have to resort to such cheap and nonsensical comments. Unfortunately this is now fairly typical of the declining standards of your posts - perhaps even you realise that the game is up for Unite-Labour. Shame really.

    I'm not actually sure what the debate actually told us that we didn't know already. Alistair Darling tried to give the impression that the last 13 years of Labour in power hadn't actually happened. Vince Cable came across best, totally secure in the knowledge he will never be in government or held to account to his words. Osborne did OK overall.

    Unite-Labour, Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling can be judged on their track record on this, and there is no need for "High Definition" to see the immense damage that have done to the country. Hopefully it will all be over soon.


  • Comment number 46.

    15#

    "Indeed a levy is an encourage not to look after them in future. Also what happens if a person dies young in an accident for example, why should their estate be taxed."

    Good question well asked.

    The Labour reply will no doubt end up being:

    "Because they just bloody should alright? Now, hand it over, you Tory worm, pronto before we whack a penalty surcharge on it and come and seize goods from YOUR house to the value of 20K and give you a criminal record for trying to evade it while we're at it."

  • Comment number 47.

    "sagamix wrote:
    Vexed question indeed - especially as regards the elderly. And here’s the answer. The principle of unlimited free care for the elderly, non means tested, is one to which we should aspire."

    Wouldn't it be nicer to live in a world where the elderly were looked after by family who cared for them rather than dropped on the state? State care is all well and good but it is often delivered with a cold face. It would be far better to provide more help for family carers who could look after their loved ones at home.

    "A goal we can sign up to. We’ll get there too, but right now we can’t afford it. Deficit. We can do something though. Take a step towards the goal. We can up the MT threshold for receiving the free care from the current (miserly) £21k to a more suitable level. £100k springs to mind and stays there. Less of this distressing “she had to sell the house” business."

    Rather than increase the Means Testing - why don't we just exclude the cost of the main home from the Means Test? Oh, I see you are only increasing the threshold to £100k - considering that most houses in the country are worth more than that we will stay find that Old people have to sell their houses (unless they live in one of the few areas where a house can be bought for less).

    So your proposal hasn't actually stopped the majority of pensioners from having to sell their homes - bit of an epic fail already isn't it.

    "Such a step will still cost a bit. Billions of pounds per annum, something of that order. So how to fund it? Two options. There’s the pretend way – saying we’ll fund it by cutting “waste” in other areas. Ho Ho Ho and a bottle of rum. This is called the pretend way to fund care for the elderly because it’s the one selected by all the people who pretend to care about care for the elderly."

    Well considering the fact that the government spends hundreds of billions of pounds every year (they even borrowed about 168 billion last year) I would imagine that there actually is scope for cutting waste.

    Or do you believe that everything the Government spends is carefully costed so that not a penny is wasted? However, the problem is cutting waste won't pay for everything that needs to be paid for.

    "Good, so the other option – the way to go – is via an increase in IHT. We can call it a Death Tax if that makes it sound a bit less nasty and threatening."

    So in Saga world the only way to pay for something is to raise taxes? There is no concept of cutting services that really aren't needed? There are government positions which provide virtually no value but pay a decent wage - these types of jobs could be removed to provide jobs that do provide value at the front line.

    "It’s all about death this (isn’t it?) – or the ante room – and so a Death Tax is the tool for the job. Yep. So to summarise ... enhanced (but not unlimited) care for the elderly paid for via a Death Tax. No dissent allowed on this one. Campo Correcto."

    Under Saga proposals old people will have to sell their houses while alive AND pay increased death taxes after they die, so the CTP proposal is to stick it to them from both ends - and all that will happen is the people who care for their elderly family at home will just leave the state to look after them.

    Sometimes Saga you do come across as a reality vacuum.

  • Comment number 48.

    26 - Just a couple of tiny points.

    Your raising of the means tested threshold to £100k so people don't have to sell their houses. Now, I don't know how much your bedsit is worth, but next time you pop down to the shops in Hampstead, stop and look in an estate agents. Look for small properties. You know, the ones a working class couple might have spent their lives buying, and see how many you can find under £100k.

    And the other tiny point. IHT raises £3.2 bn a year at the moment. What are your concrete plans to raise this amount to the many billions you admit will be needed? What rate are you proposing and how low are you dropping that exempt amount?

    It seems you've got a touch of the 'vague & woolies'. Some might find irony that your 'answers' are as ill-defined as claims to cut waste.

    Still, supporting a party that will be making fair twice as strong and happiness three times flexible, I'm not surprised.

  • Comment number 49.

    " 26. At 11:54am on 30 Mar 2010, sagamix wrote:
    ...the way to go – is via an increase in IHT"

    sagamix, this does seem to be one of your soap box items. I do get the feeling that you really would like IHT to be 100%, with no threshold at times. I feel the thrust of your point is why should the children inherit anything - as they did not earn it. Is that a fair summation of your position. If not then please can you set me straight as to what you think the IHT rate should be, and what the threshold should be? Cheers

  • Comment number 50.

    31. At 12:05pm on 30 Mar 2010, lefty10 wrote:
    re-12.
    so in conjuction with the banks lending again, the govt gradually introduces co-operative compulsory purchase orders. if those who work in the nursing home get together and want to run the business themselves, after consultation and a pre-approved business plan, the owner has to sell it to them (preferential loan from the bank). they then take a share in all net profits..boosting considerably their wages and the tax they pay. other profits are redistributed towards better care in the care home. ie. better meals, extra staff, entertainment, trips outside of the care home for the residents...basically an improvement on everything thats going on now.
    of course i could expand on this for hours...but the basic premis is a good one and a forward thinking progressive policy!

    -------------

    Actually this is more of a regressive proposal rather than progressive, but this of course has no relevence to its merits, or lack thereof.

    I think we have had this discussion before. In principle, owner managed businesses are all very fine and splendid, but you can not seriously expect to be able to compel someone to sell. MBO's are fairly uncommon for a reason, you lose all sorts of economies of sale which reduce the competetiveness rather than increase it. And when they do happen, it is usually for a short term profit, the managers buy the business and then sell it for more a short time later.

  • Comment number 51.

    Quite rightly, the Government exempts businesses from IHT (It would be madness if a thriving business, employing lots of people) had to be broken up on death.

    So, the thing to do is set up a company (now) and leave it on the shelf doing not a lot. Should you ever get the nod from the doctor or realise that your time is near, subscribe for a rights issue of shares worth your entire estate and get the company to buy a business. Pop your clogs, safe in the knowledge that you've passed your entire estate on to your loved ones, free of IHT

  • Comment number 52.

    #30 Whistling Neil wrote:
    "It pushes my red button when I hear large numbers of people wanting someone else to pay for care so their inheritance will be larger."

    I agree with this, and the rest of your post.

    Some selfish (middle-aged) children 'persuade' their remaining parent to live at home in squalor because its cheaper than residential care. Needless to say, these are the ones who rarely visit.

  • Comment number 53.

    43.
    and your problem with worker co-operatives is what? didnt get anything from your usuall childish comment?

  • Comment number 54.

    20 sagamix

    "Was Osborne involved in the debate? Can't say I noticed him."

    Is that all they're teaching down at the WDM school of debate these days? Childishness?

    Why not say that "Osborne gets his mum to tie his laces, nah-nah-de-nah-nah"

    Hey perhaps that could be the next great Labour poster? Can't be wose than the 'Labour will be imprecise about its vagueness in this campaign' slogans.

  • Comment number 55.

    SP @ 45

    "Unfortunately this is now fairly typical of the declining standards of your posts"

    Yes my posts just get better and better, don't they? Leave the audience behind occasionally, I'm aware of that, but it comes with the territory. Artistic integrity trumps cheap popularity any day of the week.

  • Comment number 56.

    one of the main questions of paying for better care for the elderly is....what exactly are you getting for your money. worker co-operatives would provide a much better service for the elderly and better pay for the carers. whats the point of discussing how its going to be paid for when under the current system large sums of money go to individual owners rather than the elderly themselves and the carers....

  • Comment number 57.

    "26 Saga 'No dissent allowed' - presumably because you know that your basic premise (that we all agree we should do it) is unsubstantiated!

    #31 lefty10 "the basic premis is a good one and a forward thinking progressive policy!". More like muddled socialist claptrap!

  • Comment number 58.

    U143 @ 38

    "Complete piffel Saga. You need to get your man Brown to stop using National Insurance to fund his nanny state projects and to buy votes and instead use if for its intended purpose."

    It's not "piffel", it's how to do it. Your way is the "pretend option" I describe at 26. The option for people who pretend to care about the elderly. Like you and "your men" Cameron and Osborne.

  • Comment number 59.

    49#

    Thats easy, even I can answer that one for him.

    Threshold is set at 50p, rate at 100%.

  • Comment number 60.

    51#

    Wasnt that the Milliband Trick, used to hide the deep communist thinking father's two million pound house in Primrose Hill from Gordon's grasp?

  • Comment number 61.

    I would like to propose a Logan's Run policy. Compulsory cull upon hitting the age of 90. This is a genuinely compassionate policy, whereby the genuinely needy can be cared for (eg dementia) whilst the rest of the old duffers can plug along in their houses till it is time for the end game.

    There are some additional benefits:

    The annuity business with be revolutionised - rates will soar when there are known paramaters for the calculations.

    Also, we will reduce retirement age to 60. 40 years of work and then 30 years with the sun on your back.

    It's genius

    Balls

  • Comment number 62.

    PickledPete

    You have it in one.

    Why is is that the MP for Edinburgh South West and the MP for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath should lecture the voters of England as to why they should pay for their care when they themselves will benefit from free care in Scotland?

    Strangely the Labour Party that was so keen on devolution for Scotland and Wales seem hell bent on denying it for England. Might it just be that they are guaranteed not to be the largest party in England?

    It there is a hung parliament I hope that fact will be taken into account. I for one am fed up with the party that doesn't have the support of the English voter passing legislation that affects them.

  • Comment number 63.

    My wife has a first class degree and a PhD in a science subject. She studied at Oxford Uni. Disenchanted with the way that laboroties are funded, she became a secondray school teacher. We have two children, currently both in nursery. My wife and I are both fortunate to receive Child Care viuchers from our employers, meaning we save about £200 a month in tax. Great. Now our eldest son will start school in September, but the school day starts too late (and finishes too early) for either of us to drop off or collect him. Despite looking high and low we are unable to find child care in the village to do this. The school does not have a 'Breakfast club'. So we are left with no choice but for my wife to quit her job. She will become a child minder. She can take our older son to school and look after our younger son. Lovely. She can also look after two other children during the day (as per Ofsted regs). However, I can't pay my wife to look after my own children, so we lose the £200 tax break. If we sent our boys to a different child minder we would still get that tax break whilst my wife could then look after four children herself. So, financially we are hit every way for looking after our own children. Crazy.

    I can imagine something similar with a National Care Service, substituting children with the elderly. Half baked plans with countless unforeseen problems.

  • Comment number 64.

    Raods, police, fire, water and sewer, military, etc are all collective efforts by society. Healthcare is no different in that if not the selection of life and death becomes determined by personal wealth. Although there are efficiencies that can be gained by better organization and consumer directed care the issue becomes one of human worth. These become statements about the values in a society. Governmemts are overly bureaucratic and pencil in every item and assess every service and in the end add to the inefficiencies. The realities of care for those with the most involved health issues becomes a balancing act between the resources allocated by the society and the quality of care desired by the individual or family. "The same as" allocates resources in a manner different from "as good as." Technologies may help in resolving some of these matters but in the end it is always about the socities willingness to address quality of life issues for those in helthcare systems.

  • Comment number 65.

    SOSDD @ 49

    "please can you set me straight as to what you think the IHT rate should be, and what the threshold should be? Cheers"

    Cheers to you too. And I'm glad you asked this because you have got me wrong, yes. 100% IHT has no appeal. I like the idea of people passing a bit on.

    CTP bands and rates as below:

    NIL BAND ... up to £100k.
    25% BAND ... £100k TO £250k.
    50% BAND ... £250k to £1m.
    75% BAND ... over £1m.


    (to be reviewed revised renewed every three years).

    You will note that the NIL BAND is perfectly aligned to the means test threshold for the free care (pls see 26) and the 25% BAND is hooked into the stamp duty threshold on property purchases. Also the 50% BAND (the main one in many respects) is a straight half/half spilt between the offspring and the Common Pot. Only for dead millionaires does the Pot take the lion's share.

    What do you think? Good or very good?

  • Comment number 66.

    50.greatHayemaker
    im not sure what your detailed reasons for dismissing this idea are. i mean i think the compulsory sale if required is morally fine if its for the better of all. i can see your argument against this but not sure how the rest of it could be argued? i mean at the moment...staff (carers) are being paid pitiful sums of money to look after our parents. this is appalling. also food/supplies, entertainmentt, staffing levels, trips out are run at a bare minimum to increase profit for a single individual. i cant see how this can be right.infact its immoral. i mean, i know family relationships can be difficult but i am presuming we all want the best for our parents. the system of worker co-operatives has proven to work. if i went to a local care home and asked all the staff if they wanted to run the business themselves..im sure they would jump at the chance. they would be motivated and paid a decent wage. also your or my mum would not have to eat basics food and may get to be taken out once in a while. as well as having staff that have the time to speak to them rather than a quick bath and see you later!!!! it all makes perfect sense. radical policies are needed, radical policies. as i said before..its pointless getting all flustered about how to pay for care without first taking into account why so much is being wasted paying for luxury holidays for a few owners at the detrement to the staff and your or my mum!!!!

  • Comment number 67.

    53#

    My problem is that it would have been all well and good donkeys years ago, but the model you are advocating in that post will not work, will cost billions to implement, will not deliver the results needed and send us back into the industrial dark ages.

    You might see it as an ideological panacea, but it would absolutely not work in the UK on the kind of scale that would be required.

    By all means encourage it for NEW businesses, small enterprises, but for anything else? Forget it, it cannot deliver the results. A chemically induced, hippie pipe dream thats long on ideology and short on everything else.

  • Comment number 68.

    mark @ 47

    "So your proposal hasn't actually stopped the majority of pensioners from having to sell their homes - bit of an epic fail already, isn't it?"

    1. A five fold increase to the threshold is a substantial improvement.
    2. Far fewer people will have to sell their homes than happens now.
    3. Don't forget equity release. Can work well if "no rip off" controls are in place.

    The policy doesn't achieve the ultimate goal in one fell swoop (deficit constraints, yes?) but it's a siginificant step towards it. To say "epic fail" is a bit silly - think you're just arguing for arguing's sake. This is why I said "no dissent" at 26 - wanted to avoid this sort of thing - would prefer that everyone has a proper think about it and then just confirms acceptance. A one liner will do.

  • Comment number 69.

    hayemaker.
    re-66.
    if schools were run the same way as care homes it wouldnt be tolerated. imagine a headmaster millionaire and all the teachers on just above minimum wage and rubbish facilities and cheapest quality school meals.
    why is it that when people get old they seem to be forgotten about and shoved off to some ill run care home to make one individual alot of money. dont we value our elderly more than that. it just doesnt make sense..

  • Comment number 70.

    56 lefty10

    I think you are the only one to raise the issue of what does one actually get from the care service providers in exchange for pretty vast sums of money. The fact is that providing care is a remarkably profitable business, and no sane analysis of how to manage paying for the care of the elderly is complete without a consideration of how to ensure that those who pay for care aren't gratuitously exploited. Such is the lack of supervision of the care industry at the moment, it is all to easy to suppose that an awful lot of exploitation does indeed go on.

    I am not going to come out in unqualified support for your workers' cooperatives solution. But it is a fact that well run cooperatives exist throughout the UK's business structure and they are often successful financially. In the context of financial stability, it also may well be true to say that cooperatives have survived the recession rather better than their more conventionally owned and operated counterparts. There quite possibly is a place for cooperatives in the business of the care of the elderly.

  • Comment number 71.

    57. Charentais
    couldnt you have just said what you dont like about worker co-operatives for elderly care? and maybe come up with a better solution yourself?

    67.
    mmm. rather vague response. it wont work but no real reasons why.
    its a good idea isnt it. and you know it!

  • Comment number 72.

    Equity release Andy (48), don't forget.

    Like this:

    House worth £500k, borrow £400k and spend it on care.
    Now got £100k assets - the equity in your home.
    That's the threshold, so free care kicks in.
    Live as long as you like now, state is paying.
    Die.
    Leave the £100k to your loved ones.
    TAX FREE (!) ... since that's the Nil IHT Band.

    Excellent.

    Next question?

  • Comment number 73.

    Bill 67

    "Forget it, it [workers' cooperatives] cannot deliver the results."

    John Lewis Partnership? The Co-Op?

  • Comment number 74.

    Banks windfall tax, banks bonus tax, banks insurance levy, super-tax.... there's many ways.
    Saves them setting up charitable foundations like all of them I'm sure are keen to do.

  • Comment number 75.

    andy,

    "Childishness. Why not say that "Osborne gets his mum to tie his laces, nah-nah-de-nah-nah?"

    Well because that would be barging across your patch. Horses for courses. But, yes, me pretending Osborne wasn't on the debate ... bit of a cheap one. Thing is, Andy, I have to slum it with the rest of you (just now and again) otherwise I lose touch with the hoi polloi and that could be fatal for someone in my position, someone with my responsibilities. Same reason I make the effort to pop over to Swindon. Where they rather like my IHT policy by the way. It's pretty popular both there AND Hampstead. That's unusual for something to go down well in both those places. Makes it (the CTP policy on death) what one calls a "crossover product". Like Beyonce. You do like Beyonce don't you, Andy? Right ... so absolutely no reason for you not to love my new and improved IHT regime, is there?

  • Comment number 76.

    We have to face facts we are all going to have to pay for care! We are all living longer and the system cannot cope with us all. I propose we have a small payment come out from every wage each month. This must ensure that any care required at any age will be given. Now what standard of care is another question-CQC rate homes poor, adequate, good and excellent why? A care home should either be good enough to provide care or not. This needs to be changed. If this is not Mrs Brown in 20 yrs time will only want to go into an excellent rated home as we all would. Also there are now alot of builders trying to set up care homes as they have low cost entry to the market. It is so expensive now to build and set up a care home that a home has to be around 50 beds to be viable so only the very wealthy can set up. This is bad as they are in it for a quick buck -they are care developers and not care providers. CQC should specify staffing numbers for care homes.
    The greedy operators should remember they also will get old and will have to use the system they are creating!

  • Comment number 77.

    66#

    "i mean at the moment...staff (carers) are being paid pitiful sums of money to look after our parents. this is appalling."

    Doesnt exactly take a university degree to be humane and treat people with some sort of dignity, does it? Skills supply and demand. Plus, theres a lot of people out there who are prepared to do the job for less than the average UK worker. You think its appalling? Look after the old duffers yourself then. Keeps them in their homes and surrounded by their families. No-one in 3 generations in my family, my first wife's or my second wife's has had to end their days in one of these homes. Not saying that's universally possible for everyone, but not every elderly parent is going to be palmed off to a care home because the kids cant be bothered to look after them.

    "also food/supplies, entertainmentt, staffing levels, trips out are run at a bare minimum to increase profit for a single individual. i cant see how this can be right.infact its immoral."

    Pays your money, takes your choice. Its a business. People put the money in, recruit the staff, run the business, deliver the service, they can take the profits out. Thats the way it is. Might go against your Soviet peasant farmer/cabbage digging collective ethos, but thats the way it is.
    You dont like it, you dont have to use it. If not enough people use it because it delivers poor service or is poor value, it doesnt make money, it goes bust.

    "i mean, i know family relationships can be difficult but i am presuming we all want the best for our parents. the system of worker co-operatives has proven to work."

    In this field? Has it really? Where? Examples?

    "if i went to a local care home and asked all the staff if they wanted to run the business themselves..im sure they would jump at the chance. they would be motivated and paid a decent wage."

    Yeah, like I'm sure if you'd gone to a certain Kirk forty odd years ago and asked the son of the manse if he'd liked to be Prime Minister, he'd have bit your arms off as well. Its meaningless. Doesnt mean that they're automatically going to be capable of running it. Those who do at the sharp end, dont always end up being good managers, or people who are effective at setting up businesses and keeping them going.

    "also your or my mum would not have to eat basics food and may get to be taken out once in a while."

    Then put your own money where your own mouth is, get yourself down to Waitrose, stock up on pate de foie gras and treat the old girl on a regular basis, if no one else is prepared to. Why do you have an aversion to basic food? What do you think should happen, the likes of Jamie Oliver coming round on a weekly basis? All of these things cost and the cost adds up and someone has to stump up sooner or later. The best quality of care they are going to get is from their own families in their own homes.

    "as well as having staff that have the time to speak to them rather than a quick bath and see you later!!!!"

    And your workers co-operative would deliver that standard would it, universal waitrose quality ingredients, charming staff who would attend to their every need, indulge them in sparkling witty conversation and take them out on trips of cultural value on a weekly basis? I think I heard a similar thing being touted about those who find martyrdom being gifted dozens of virgins for their sacrifice.... its drug induced madness, it would never work in a month of Sundays.

    "it all makes perfect sense. radical policies are needed, radical policies. as i said before..its pointless getting all flustered about how to pay for care without first taking into account why so much is being wasted paying for luxury holidays for a few owners at the detrement to the staff and your or my mum!!!!"

    And you know that for a fact do you? Care home owners take loads of foreign holidays by soaking the elderly and making them subsist on bread and water, devoid of compassionate human contact? Or is it your usual politics of jealousy talking?

    How many modern day care homes have you actually been in, or worked in or known someone who has worked in one?

    Answers on a postcard please.

  • Comment number 78.

    #26 sagamix

    "so the other option – the way to go – is via an increase in IHT. We can call it a Death Tax if that makes it sound a bit less nasty and threatening."

    I think we can agree that better provision for the elderly is needed - but where we disagree is how to fund it.

    From earlier posts on this topic, you might have gathered my concern is the often totally false distinction made between 'social care' and 'health care'. Taxpayers have already paid for their Health Care, but as we know, the NHS simply cannot provide everything that is needed. A convenient way of sidestepping a whole section of the community (eg people with dementia) is to pretend their needs are not medical. A person with advanced dementia may need full time residential care. This is perceived (conveniently) as a 'social care' - but in fact, dementia is the result of illness - physical damage to the brain. It is a medical condition.

    While most people are entitled to 'free' care (paid for out of taxes), older people are often discriminated against and denied the care they need. Thanks to the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE - a sick joke?), people with dementia often cannot even get the medication they need - which means they may need residential care even sooner, rather than being able to stay in their own homes. But, if they do need residential care, that isn't paid for by the NHS, so "problem solved". It's a disgrace!

    Whilst I agree with you that all this can't be funded out by 'cutting waste' alone, nevertheless waste does need to be tackled. Also, it does seem odd that things like fertility treatment can be funded on the NHS, whereas dementia care isn't. Another example of age discrimination.

    As for the Death Tax - I suspect this is something you welcome, not specifically because of the state of the NHS, but because you like high taxes - particularly anything that prevents people passing on their hoards of wealth. Much better that the State confiscates everything we own! But it's not just rich people who want to provide for their spouses, partners, children and families etc. It's a normal human desire to want to make sure those left behind are provided for as far as possible. You might trust Gordon Brown or the State to take care of everything for us - but most of us don't!

    People have paid taxes once. A Death Tax is double taxation.

  • Comment number 79.

    "sagamix wrote:"

    Lets address your points one at a time

    "1. A five fold increase to the threshold is a substantial improvement."

    Yes, it is an improvement in that area, however looking at the whole policy is the equivalent of telling someone who has lost their leg to gangrene that they should be happy that their Athletes Foot has improved

    "2. Far fewer people will have to sell their homes than happens now."

    Do you have any idea of the price of houses in this country? The vast majority of them are over £100,000 so even under your "generous" proposal the majority of people will still have to sell their homes - plus their estates will get clobbered with your Death Tax.

    "3. Don't forget equity release. Can work well if "no rip off" controls are in place."

    So you are suggesting that their best way out of it is to take out a second mortgage? Oddly enough people who need the type of care this proposal would fund are not the sort of people who can pay off an equity release loan!

    "The policy doesn't achieve the ultimate goal in one fell swoop (deficit constraints, yes?) but it's a siginificant step towards it."

    It isn't though - that is my point. You try and portray the proposal as being able to prevent the elderly needing to sell their houses to get care but set the threshold at a level where the majority of people will still need to sell their houses.

    You then use your "generous" offer to justify a smash and grab raid on the estates of the majority of the population.

    "To say "epic fail" is a bit silly - think you're just arguing for arguing's sake. This is why I said "no dissent" at 26 - wanted to avoid this sort of thing - would prefer that everyone has a proper think about it and then just confirms acceptance."

    Or more likely the reason you didn't want any dissent is because you knew that your policy was complete and utter bilge and if anyone even looked at it at the wrong angle it would collapse.

    "A one liner will do."

    A one liner? Hmm!

    Saga your idea is stupid.

  • Comment number 80.

    "NIL BAND ... up to £100k.
    25% BAND ... £100k TO £250k.
    50% BAND ... £250k to £1m.
    75% BAND ... over £1m."

    I like this. A great many houses are worth over £200k. Faced with paying at least £25k, a huge number of people will be flocking for good tax advice on how to avoid the tax.

    If you ever get anywhere power, I will go full time into IHT.

    Nothing better for a professional to face than an amateur who has no idea how amateurish they are.

    I look forward to a statment from you saying "I'd legislate against all avoidance"........hahahhahahahahhahaa!

  • Comment number 81.

    "would prefer that everyone has a proper think about it and then just confirms acceptance. "

    Yep. You're not allowed to think in Campo Correcto.

    Just keep breathing through your mouth and nod acceptance at everything. Remember, resistance is futile.

  • Comment number 82.

    "sagamix wrote:
    Equity release Andy (48), don't forget.

    Like this:

    House worth £500k, borrow £400k and spend it on care.
    Now got £100k assets - the equity in your home.
    That's the threshold, so free care kicks in.
    Live as long as you like now, state is paying.
    Die.
    Leave the £100k to your loved ones.
    TAX FREE (!) ... since that's the Nil IHT Band.

    Excellent.

    Next question?"

    Wow Labour economics - how to turn £500k into £100k and try to convince people that you are doing them a favour.

    Next week, curing depression by beating a patient within an inch of their life and then trying to convince them that they should feel happy because they faced death but survived!

  • Comment number 83.

    "65. At 1:48pm on 30 Mar 2010, sagamix wrote:

    What do you think? Good or very good?"

    sagamix, I can see that modesty is something that you subscribe to. I cannot help but feel that your style of delievery might come across as smugness, and as such will turn many people off from what you say.

    Anyway, I can see a lot of merit in what you propose, but there is a great danger that if the "common pot" take is too large then the natural desire to try to pass something onto the offspring would be stiffled - causing many to ask 'Why save, why be responsible etc.', or for normal people to go to excessive lenghts to avoid paying IHT.

    I tend to be on the left of centre, (I suspect that New Labour is my natural political home) but I do not think the state taking more than 50% of an estate would be acceptable to the vast majority of the UK. The trouble is that if you do take 75% of an estate above 1 million, then it is those people that can afford the advice to legally avoid paying a (what would appear to be a punative) large grab.

    I wonder if a better way forward might be to leave IHT as it is, but introduce CGT on the profit when a house is sold (with fudge factors for inflation being accounted for). The CGT to be removed from the estate before IHT applied of course to remove double taxation.

    Adding CGT onto house sales would help cool the housing market as well. Is that CPT enough for you?






  • Comment number 84.

    "I propose we have a small payment come out from every wage each month. This must ensure that any care required at any age will be given."

    Er, thats what they call tax, Mrs B, it happens already. You want to make EVERYBODY even worse off for a service that a significant percentage will never use?

    "It is so expensive now to build and set up a care home that a home has to be around 50 beds to be viable so only the very wealthy can set up. This is bad as they are in it for a quick buck -they are care developers and not care providers. CQC should specify staffing numbers for care homes. The greedy operators should remember they also will get old and will have to use the system they are creating!"

    "only the very wealthy".... "greedy operators.." so what are they Mrs B?

    Or are you saying (as I have a feeling you are) that the "very wealthy" and "greedy operators" are one and the same??

    I think I can see where you're going with this.....

  • Comment number 85.

    " 76. At 2:30pm on 30 Mar 2010, Mrs B wrote:
    We have to face facts we are all going to have to pay for care! We are all living longer and the system cannot cope with us all. I propose we have a small payment come out from every wage each month. This must ensure that any care required at any age will be given"

    This is called National Insurance. Stop that imbecile Brown wasting it, and it will serve the purpose.

    Balls

  • Comment number 86.

    "sagamix wrote:

    Same reason I make the effort to pop over to Swindon. Where they rather like my IHT policy by the way."

    Where do you go in Swindon, as the areas where that idea would go down well are very dodgy. The sort of place that you wouldn't like to go to after lunch let alone after dark.

  • Comment number 87.

    73#

    I used to think that way, but not proper co-operatives on his model JRP, I tried that answer months ago and he laughed me out of the room. Far too capitalist, regardless of their roots. I know a few people who have worked for both organisations and those who have worked for the JLP would always defend it and the way it was run with admirable gusto.

    The kind of workers co-operatives he's on about though are akin to those in the old soviet farm model or on an Israeli kibbutzim.

  • Comment number 88.

    I really do not know why Labour just do not take all the money off people who work hard and save and just give it away, it would be far simpler for them. This death tax is such a bad idea in everyway.

    People would no longer keep any assets before death, they would hide away the proceeds for their children.

    Now that pensions are so dire it is necessary for people to save for their future because the state cannot provide for everyone in old age. Under this proposal people would not do this.

    It would penalize people who do look after and care for their elderly parents themselves.

    It penalizes old people who do not take up any kind of care.

    It penalizes young children who lose their parents at a young age.

    It penalizes those who have disabled children and need to pass on a home to provide for their childrens future.

    It again advantages those who have not bothered to work or save for their future.

    It would not be long before the state used the taxation from this death tax collected for other projects instead of what it was designed for. We have seen this happen time and time again.

    Above everything else a new study says that people in the future will not live as long as they have been doing. The culture of drugs and drink, having to work much longer before they retire, poverty in old age, will take care of this issue.

    While we are on the subject, the elderly would be very happy if they could get rid of that Champagne socialist Joan Bakewell. She in no way says or acts in the manner which represents them.

  • Comment number 89.

    77 - "No-one in 3 generations in my family, my first wife's or my second wife's has had to end their days in one of these homes."

    A key point. It is STILL the case that the majority of people will not see a care home or, at most just for the last few months of their lives. It IS very expensive for the small minority that need long term care. The number of people living in half million pound houses (message 72) who will need to spend £400k on long term care will be tiny.

    No, even mad Labour are only talking about £20k or so death tax, sagamix wants £162.5k IHT from a £500k house. Sagamix just likes the idea of taxing people, so, hey ho, why not tax them on death as well.

    Imagine the sales pitch. You can give £162.5k to sagamix's mad Government or pay me £20k in fees and save yourself £142.k.

    Sagamix, next time you're out canvessing opinion, put that question to the public. See what result you get.

    You've a head full of dreams, none of which will ever come true. I have dreams too. Lots of mine are happening!

  • Comment number 90.

    76 - "I propose we have a small payment come out from every wage each month. This must ensure that any care required at any age will be given"

    I'm already doing that. With a fair wind, my investments (very few of which are now in the UK) will fund a long & happy retirement.

  • Comment number 91.

    71#

    I havent had convincing reasons beyond your ideological, pathalogical jealous hatred of anyone having any kind of wealth as to why it WOULD work, lefty.

    You've got to sell it to me, the ordinary voter remember? The one who has seen the only successful types being the co-op and the JLP, both a long way evolved from their original founding principles. Your advocation of compulsory buyouts of companies and handing them over to the workforce to run is the politics of the madhouse and would destroy at a stroke any industrial muscle that the country has left.

    How the hell would you propose to run a company like SmithKlineBeecham, Nissan, Honda, Toyota, the various British Aerospace engineering companies, airlines, train services, not to mention the financial services sector firms that provide 20% of GDP as workers co-operatives? Mass nationalisation (which would cost hundreds of billions, but hey, we're already in hock for about 1.4trillion anyway, who cares, its only money) followed by handing it over to the shop floor?

    Completely, utterly, totally barking madness.

    But go on. See if you can lay off sniffing the marker pen long enough to convince me how it could work, in reality, rather than the rose tinted view about the evil rich being reduced to sack-cloth and ashes minus their foreign holidays off the backs of the downtrodden, bedraggled honest poor?

  • Comment number 92.

    Oh god Mark (79) you're dragging me in. Didn't want that. Look, people WON'T have to sell their homes. Pls see 72 where I illustrate. There's some detail to confirm on the equity release aspect - a state provider, I'd suggest - but that's easy. We can deal with it once people get their heads around the Big Picture. Don't nitpick (!) at this stage, focus on what's important, the end result. What is the end result? Well you get unlimited free care when your assets fall below £100k, you don't have to sell your house (it's used as collateral to raise funds), you leave home only if medical reasons dictate that, and you still get to leave a tax free hundred grand to your kids. Okay the kids get less because of the IHT change, but it's the IHT change which is funding the enhanced care. Before the change, the house WOULD have had to go. Can you see it now? The beauty of it. Enhanced care for the elderly and the cost is that people still receive an unearned wealth boost in middle age, but a smaller one. Choices, Mark, choices. C'mon.

  • Comment number 93.

    How to fund the neady in their/our old age. This is a very bad attempt to spin the issues away from the economy, an arguement that Labour have now lost hands down.

    Labour have tried everything to get out of the ealy 30's in the poll ratings even digging up BLIAR. But this latest wheeze takes the biscuit.

    Desperation has set in. It's time to get rid of this desperate government so that a sensible debate may take place on this very important issue.

    GB looks very tired again has he been up all night trying to drill for oil in the Falklands?





  • Comment number 94.

    #66 lefty10

    Like JRP@70 I wouldn't dismiss your idea out-of-hand.

    However, you would need to consider how the initial capital investment of the care home would be raised (did you intend to expropriate extisting care homes without compensation, or have the taxpayer meet the cost?). Then you may need a bank loan, a financial plan, probably collateral to satisfy the bank in case of default, and of course you would have various professional fees (accountancy, legal, etc) to pay. Management and marketing experience would be required. The workers might make a profit to cover their labour, but they might also make a loss. By this time I doubt whether the typical care-worker would be that enthusiastic.

  • Comment number 95.

    #65 very good indeed. Let me see

    40% of £675,000 (current level) = £270,000 Vs

    25% of £150,000 = £37,500
    50% of £750,000 = £375.00

    Your new take of a £1M estate = £412,000 - only £142,000 more.

    You'll have to talk really fast to get that one passed

  • Comment number 96.

    Shame that sagmix has let us all down so badly.

    Not only is he a fully paid member of UNITE but his claims to be part of the Hampstead intelligentia are now looking somewhat bogus.

    What else could explain his tautological use of 'the' hoi polloi?

    Must be all that educashun under Tony B.

    Call an election.

  • Comment number 97.

    You're just being silly now Mark (at 82) - pls see 92 and please think about the issue instead of just mindless sniping.

    Fingers crossed.

  • Comment number 98.

    26. At 11:54am on 30 Mar 2010, sagamix wrote:
    'We can up the MT threshold for receiving the free care from the current (miserly) £21k to a more suitable level. £100k springs to mind and stays there'

    Good post to here.
    But then the flaw:

    'and so a Death Tax is the tool for the job. Yep. So to summarise ... enhanced (but not unlimited) care for the elderly paid for via a Death Tax'

    We already have inheritance tax.

    Those you hope to catch, already avoid IHT by disposing of assets prior to death or by using a trust fund. And would likely adopt the same methodology regarding death tax.

    Take me for example (an average working Joe with three children). Don’t have much money, like to think of myself as a moderate socialist, but I’d do my utmost to prevent the state taking what I hope to leave to my children.

    I don’t think you can legislate successfully against the natural instincts of a parent.

  • Comment number 99.

    Oh look, Tony Blair is back. making an indecipherable speech about what he 'wants'...

    Was he l;oooking a bit sweaty because he's under investigation. Again.

    This would be uniquely ironic:

    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/politics/labour/7536648/Tony-Blair-under-pressure-to-explain-if-he-is-avoiding-UK-taxes.html

    Call an election

  • Comment number 100.

    distant traveller,

    "As for the Death Tax - I suspect this is something you welcome, not specifically because of the state of the NHS, but because you like high taxes - particularly anything that prevents people passing on their hoards of wealth."

    Nope. Pls see 65 where you'll see that I'm in favour of people leaving a bit.

    And I don't "like" high taxes, of course I don't. I like low taxes. Or more specifically, what I like is the combination of world class public services free to all at the point of delivery ... AND low taxes. I'm a member of the British public, so how could I not?

 

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