Ever the master of political timing, Boris Johnson has seized the social care bull by its horns, steered it through the House of Commons and looks to escape unscathed – for the time being. But he may have created two bigger problems for the longer term.
The first is that, while he has saved some family houses for grateful heirs, many people and/or their families will still have to make a sizeable contribution to the costs of their care – in addition to the tax they have already paid – and, so far, the scandalously confused and unaccountable system remains intact, with some providers creaming off vast profits from stratospheric fees, while paying their staff a pittance.
The changes also do nothing to encourage developers to build decent accommodation for older people, such as exists in many other countries. Why would people “downsize” when there is so little for them to downsize to, that is in a place they want to live and convenient to shops and services? Where such housing exists, what is more, the move can cost as much, with stamp duty, as the bigger house they are leaving. Why bother?
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