Magazine article Public Finance

Free Care Would Be 'Subsidy for Rich'

Magazine article Public Finance

Free Care Would Be 'Subsidy for Rich'

Article excerpt

Sir Derek Wanless's proposals for funding long-term care for elderly people amount to a 'huge subsidy for the rich' and play into the hands of campaigners concerned with protecting their inheritance, an influential Labour peer has said.

'Such an extension of the welfare state hugely benefits the better-off. It's a specific subsidy aimed at the very well-off. It's not a good use of very scarce state resources,' Lord Lipsey said at a King's Fund debate on Wanless's proposed 'partnership model'.

Under this, the majority of an individual's non-medical 'personal' care provided by care home and domiciliary care staff would be free. The rest would be funded through a top-up system of personal funds, matched pound for pound by state funding.

Wanless countered: 'The model does have its weaknesses, but on balance those are outweighed by the benefits.' An important byproduct would be to incentivise more private spending on care, he added.

The model would remove the current means-testing system under which the 30% of care home residents with assets of more than £21,000 must pay in full or in part for the help they receive in day-to-day tasks such as washing, eating and dressing. …

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