Thursday, February 9, 2012

Oh, a minister has twigged

Sometimes I wonder about politicians and common sense, at other times watching them at PM's questions and the legislation they pass I'm absolutely sure they posses it in a lesser quantity than most of the population. Take means testing benefits for example...
Rules excluding virtually anyone with property from free personal care actively encourage people to hide their assets, the head of a Government commission on the crisis has warned.
Andrew Dilnot described the current threshold as “monumentally stupid”, leaving ordinary people with little option than to “cheat” the system.
He also warned the Coalition that he would become a public critic if an overhaul of the current “broken” system is not outlined before the summer.
Around 1.2 million frail or vulnerable people in England rely on care services provided by their local council. It is thought that almost one million more are in need but receive no help.
Last year Mr Dilnot, an Oxford economist, proposed a new system of social care, with a cap on what individuals would have to pay set at around £35,000.
He also proposed lifting the threshold to qualify for state-funded care.
At present anyone with total assets, including their home, over £23,250 does not qualify for any help with their social care costs. The Dilnot Commission proposed raising that threshold to £100,000.
So, what's the first thing anyone elderly who knows about this does? They go to a solicitor to find out how to beat it, often enough it's done by passing the deeds of the house onto a son or daughter and paying them a peppercorn rent to live in their own house, there are other means of hiding assets too, bank accounts under the maiden name of one of the partners, even a direct transfer of assets to various relatives to be held in trust (assuming there's trust to be had) I'm sure those who know more about economics and tax avoidance could shed more light on this though.
I've often said that you can judge a society by how well it treats those who are elderly and sick, judging by the stuff I get to read on a daily basis, UK society is not that civilised. There still seems to be a streak of envy running through the benefits system aimed at anyone who has done well for themselves in life but who now has fallen on hard times or illness and they face the penalty of having to sell off all they've managed to earn for themselves to pay for their care until they are poor enough for the state to take over.
Perhaps this current review will restore a correct balance for our elderly, I wont hold my breath though, even if it does sooner or later the electorate will fall for the Labour spin and vote for the party of envy and overspending to rip the pensioners off again as one Gordon Brown did early in the Blair years.

3 annotations:

James Higham said...

The trick though is to have some assets in the first place.

andy5759 said...

A while ago Anna Raccoon outlined the French system, whereby the children of the family are duty bound to provide care for their parents. I cannot recall the exact method, but it seemed rather better than the "Granny Farming" industry we seem to have here.
I have closed down my house to move in with my mother who needs company and some support. Financially she is reasonably well off, the house has a value too. She is adamant that the state will get as little as possible from her, she saved for decades to get what she has and sees no reason to let the feckless get their mitts on it. Though I share her concern, I am not that bothered about any inheritance, I would rather have my Mum.
Could we ask the Americans to invade this country to impose democracy on us, as they have done in Iraq and Afghanistan?

Woman on a Raft said...

Elderly people...don't forget that moving to Scotland gets you free personal care.