Ministers: elderly should downsize and save for care
Government proposes scheme to help elderly people to downsize from larger homes and suggests we should be planning to pay for any care we receive in later life.
The Government has proposed that elderly people in larger homes should be helped to downsize into smaller, rented properties to ease Britain’s housing crisis. It’s also suggested that care provision should be saved for in advance to avoid the prospect of people having to sell their homes to pay for the cost.
The rental scheme will allow people to rent their homes to local authorities, who in turn rent them out to young families.
The authorities would maintain the property and pass the income back to the homeowners or their estate.
Saga called the idea “outrageous social engineering”.
Paying for the cost of care
The proposals came on the same day that another Government minister called for older people to either release equity from their homes or divert savings to a separate annuity or other product to pay for care.
Liberal Democrat Paul Burstow told the Health Committee that people currently see care as “a distress purchase”. He said that the Government wanted people “to futureproof” their potential care costs.
At the moment, anyone in England with assets worth more than £23,500 has to pay their own care costs in full. As a result, it’s estimated that 20,000 people each year have to sell their homes to raise the money.
The Dilnot commission, which was set up to examine the future of social care, recommended a cap of £35,000 on the cost of care, with the Government paying any excess. But it’s estimated that could cost the Government between £1.7 and £2 billion a year and it is reported to favour a cap of £60,000.
Cross-party talks on the issue are continuing this week and a White Paper on the future of social care is due to be published in April.