Liberal Democrats set 10 questions for Theresa May on the “Dementia Tax”

Rarely has such an ill-thought out policy made it into a manifesto. The Tory proposals for what’s been dubbed a “dementia tax,” going back on previous proposals to set a cap on care costs for those who need care, don’t even seem to have the agreement of senior Conservatives. In fact, if the Sunday papers are to be believed, they don’t even have the backing of Theresa May’s two chiefs of staff.

Vince Cable outlines the main issues here:

The Liberal Democrats have today put 10 questions to Theresa May on the implementation of this policy. Her speech last Monday was initially presented as a u-turn. She then claimed in her Andrew Neil interview that it was anything but. Voters need to know exactly what this policy means before they go to the polls in 11 days’ time.

The questions are:

1. At what level will the cap on care costs be set?

2. How will it be uprated? Will it be in line with house prices?

3. Does the £100,000 floor apply to households or individuals?

4. Will the cap and £100,000 floor apply to care costs only, or will it also include accommodation costs?

5. Will people still need to pay an arrangement fee and interest for care costs, and if so how will these charges be set? The Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead (RBWM) currently charges 2.25% interest and a £900 set up fee plus £300 a year.

6. Will interest fees and fee payments for care costs be included under the cap?

7. Will local councils have to pay the additional costs for this scheme or will they be fully reimbursed by the Treasury?

8. Will widows, widowers or dependent children be able to remain in the family home after their relative has died, especially where they are elderly themselves? Or will they be forced to sell the home to pay for care costs?

9. What interest rate will be charged on a deferred payment once the beneficiary has died? Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead charge 8% if not settled within 90 days of death.

10. Will measures be put place to prevent people avoiding the Dementia Tax, for example releasing equity or gifting a house to children or grandchildren more than seven years before death?

Norman Lamb said:

It is simply not good enough to dodge difficult questions and proper scrutiny during the campaign over an issue that will have such a huge impact on people’s lives.

Under these proposals, many would end up paying far more for their care.

Families deserve to know now what the Dementia Tax will mean for their homes, finances and relatives.

We have set out a clear set of questions Theresa May must answer in order to come clean to the British public and address their concerns.

The Liberal Democrats will keep campaigning to scrap the Dementia Tax and ensure no-one has to worry about catastrophic costs to pay for their care.

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4 Comments

  • Some very good questions that need answering before the general election. However, at least the Tories appear to be trying to come up with a long-term solution to social care. I think I’d rather Vince Cable come up with some solutions instead of questions. I’m sure 1p in the pound on income tax will help the nhs and social care providers, but I’m not convinced it’s any more than a very short-term fix.

  • David Gregson 28th May '17 - 10:09pm

    The Tory proposal to take into account assets down to £100,000 is largely denounced as a dementia tax.
    . The consequences however would surely also affect any young or old person and their families who have the brutal bad luck of a long chronic illness caused by any debilitating severe illness such as multiple sclerosis or early dementia or severe uninsured injury.
    The Tory policy needs much further clarification before election day and they need to give a definite ceiling as well as a floor to costs. These present proposals have severe potential financial consequences for all age groups and their families.
    As a retired GP I remember the enormous strain and effort made by carers and felt humbled by the relatively small part the health and social care contributed to their valiant efforts. These carers need our full support.
    Incidentally I am most impressed by the list of questions you ask .

  • Daniel Walker 29th May '17 - 8:20am

    @malc It’s not intended as anything other than a short-term fix. If you see sections 2.1 part 3:
    In the longer term and as a replacement for the 1p Income Tax rise, commission
    the development of a dedicated health and care tax on the basis of wide
    consultation, possibly based on a reform of National Insurance contributions,
    which will bring together spending on both services into a collective budget and
    set out transparently, on people’s payslips, what we spend on them

    Also part 4 calls for a cross-party health and social care convention.

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