Tories launch care home guarantee.

Will it work without tax increases I wonder?

A "home protection scheme" to prevent older people having to sell their properties to fund long-term care has been unveiled by the Conservatives.

In England, residential care costs must be met by the individual if they have assets of more than £23,000.

Tory health spokesman Andrew Lansley said the party would invite people to pay a one-off fee of £8,000 at age 65 to waive residential fees for life.

Ministers have dismissed the voluntary scheme as "flawed and hasty".

The government put forward its own proposals on elderly care at the Labour Party conference.

Gordon Brown outlined plans for a "National Care Service" so those with "the highest needs" could be cared for in their own home.

'Weight of worry'

The Conservatives say that their scheme could be operated by existing insurers using branded products, with the government setting out basic rules and safeguards to ensure it remained financially viable over the long term.

They insist the voluntary scheme would be self-financing as only 20% of those paying in would get ill enough to have to draw on the scheme, and say no public money would be needed to operate it.

The party says 45,000 people are forced to sell their homes each year to pay for residential care, with a typical two-year stay costing £52,000.

I think what that indicates is that at long last this issue is at last central to the political debate
Patrick South,
Age Concern and Help the Aged

Mr Lansley added: "This scheme is a genuinely huge step forward for England's care system and will lift a major weight of worry from the shoulders of all older people and their families.

"In 12 years, Labour have failed to offer older people any hope of a way out of the forced home sales crisis.

"A vote for the Conservatives is now a vote for a real, affordable alternative to losing your home if you need to enter residential care."

Ideas welcomed

Writing in the Daily Mail, shadow chancellor George Osborne said it was an injustice that people were forced to sell their houses to fund the cost of going into a care home.

But Care Services Minister Phil Hope called it a "flawed and hasty" idea.

He said: "£8,000 would not be enough to cover the cost of residential care. So where do they propose the rest of the money comes from?

"Few people choose to pay into voluntary schemes. And it's hard to see how it would prevent people from having to sell their homes. How many pensioners have £8,000 lying around? Or £16,000 if you're married?"

Patrick South from Age Concern said he welcomed ideas from all the political parties.

He said: "Last week we had the prime minister making his announcement on homecare for people with critical needs for care in the home and this weekend we're getting a proposal about residential care.

"I think what that indicates is that at long last this issue is at last central to the political debate."

Richard Humphries, from the King's Fund, the health think-tank, said: "I think the big challenge will be persuading enough people to join the scheme so the figures do add up.

"The more people join, the better it is, because there's more money going in. The crucial thing is will people be persuaded that this is something which is right for them and something they can afford."
I'm curious why thins idea has appeared just now but not years before?
If the numbers are sound why hasn't the insurance industry already created it?

What happens to the cost of the premiums when life expectancy increases?

If people pay their tax and national insurance why should the state act as if it believes that the right thing to do is p*ss away every penny and the wrong thing to do is buy an enduring asset: two blokes on the same money, p*ss artist gets free care, homeowner pays for house and then gets hit again.

We're a parcel of rogues in a nation.
I thought we paid a little thing called national insurance for our future, though I am aware it is used to pay for the fecklessness of those who don't contibute.

The scheme could be paid for by slashing the overseas development budget, Indias Space Programme doesn't need our money after all.
gobbyidiot said:
If the numbers are sound why hasn't the insurance industry already created it?
Because before their wasn't the prospect of getting taxpayer's money to guarantee their profits when the scheme turns out to be economically unviable but simultaneously unscrapable. See 'Railtrack' for further details.
I'm really confused now. I though the Tories were the party of small government and minimum interference in the market?

Could it be just populist soundbite to be discarded once the votes are in? Surely no politician would behave in such an underhand manner...

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