financing of care is not very capitalist in its approach. Admittedly, care home provision is a definite public good and so even a red in tooth capitalist such as myself is not inclined to look for a pure market solution.
However, middle class subsidy and a tax rise can't be the best answer either; in fact, it is positively distressing to me that the 'new' Government is coming up with the same sort of middling left of centre ideas as the last one.
Core to this is the British people's obsession with housing. the new policy has a cap of £35,000 that someone can contribute to their care costs - this of course is on top of their free NHS healthcare. The idea that paying more than this is too burdensome for most. This is a ridiculous assumption, made real only because otherwise 'people would have to sell their houses.
Imagine if instead the concept was 'people would have to cash in their lifesavings.' What is wrong with this? Surely if you have access to funds you should pay for your own care. If your children are worried about their inheritance then perhaps they should do something about it themselves rather than waiting around for their parents to die?
However, obsession with house prices and indeed using houses as our primary savings vehicle has completely skewed the political view here to one where no one must mutter about selling ones' house. No doubt Leftwingers are going to call selling ones house to pay for their own care 'foreced homelessness or ' dispossession.'
Anyway, so far, so ideologically unsound. Next up is a tax on pensioners to pay for care provision. This is even worse, pensioners of the future are going to have a bleak time. At best they are going to be on an average income below minimum wage - and this is already taxed. So increasing taxes here is disproportionate. After all, many people will end up in care, so even with this daft idea of a tax, it should fall on everyone. What next a cancer tax? A blindness tax only for the blind? (OK, OK, I appreciate we have tobacco taxes already....).
The sums at stake are not big for the Government - but the principles are. People should prepare for their own needs where possible and to create a new system of entitlement also sets a bad precedent in that the incentive to save is removed.
Charities who support this also have come out with some daft ideas like reducing pension tax relief to pay for this or increasing VAT by 0.5%.
It's a real horlix- but to the rescue could come the insurance in providing a personal way out of this mess if they can come up with some useful products for people to buy. Given the shoddy treatment meated out by insurers to pensioners, this is a statement of hope rather than expectation....