Socialist Worker

Tories' social care crisis could help finish them off

Issue No. 2556

Tory leader Theresa May is in trouble

Tory leader Theresa May is in trouble (Pic: Number 10/Flickr)


Questions continue to haunt Theresa May over the costs of her social care policies and the dementia tax.

The Tories’ U-turn was designed to avoid criticism from all sides over their original proposals. But it won’t work.

May had said at the manifesto launch that individuals would be liable for the costs of social care unless they had less than £100,000 worth of assets.

The assets included their house.

So anyone unlucky enough to live a long time with a degenerative illness such as Alzheimer’s would face an inheritance tax rate of 100 percent over £100,000.

Those who die faster could pass on up to £1 million.

Such a policy was cruel and arbitrary.

It also could not have been better designed to enrage a large section of people who have previously voted Tory.

Now all the Tories are saying it wasn’t their idea. Election strategist Lynton Crosby wants it to be known he thought it was “crazy”.

The replacement for the policy is that there will now be an “absolute limit on the amount people have to pay for their care costs”.

But the Tories won’t say how much this will be. And they won’t say this side of the election.

They talk about “safeguards”, but there’s no detail about them. It could be even more unfair than the original.

If the cap is, say, £50,000 then anyone with assets below that will lose the lot. Those who have more will keep the excess.

The original dementia tax lottery remains, but with an even greater class twist.

There does need to be an inheritance tax regime, but one targeted at the really rich.

The only long-term solution is to organise care in the same way as the NHS, and with far greater linkages between local authorities and a well-funded NHS.

But that means a serious assault on the top 1 percent who have done so well under the Tories.

The £83 billion increase in the wealth of the richest 1,000 people in Britain last year is exactly the sort of money that should be used for this.

 


Council housing needs to be an election issue, say activists

Housing activists released a letter on Thursday of last week to argue for housing to be at the centre of the general election.

Signatories included director Ken Loach, academic Danny Dorling, the PCS union, Generation Rent and over 40 other organisations and activists.

The letter, entitled Housing at a Crossroads, argues for the repeal of the 2016 Housing and Planning Act, an end to demolition of housing estates and a national council house building programme.

“In Britain housing costs are at the highest ever as a proportion of incomes, with private renters paying the highest rents with the least security in Europe,” it reads.

Each of the main parties has attacked the others during the election campaign for their record over house building.

The truth is they all have disgraceful records.

But Labour is committed to building a million new homes, half of which are promised to be social housing.

All one million should be council homes.

But without a change, the letter warns, “millions more will be forced into insecure and unaffordable private renting or homelessness, as non-market housing alternatives are destroyed.”


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