In the final days of the 2017 General Election canvassing, I will sum up each party’s proposals on the specific issues that relate to older people. Here is a start with the Conservative Party proposals.
PENSIONS — triple lock changed to double lock. The automatic 2.5% annual increase is dropped. This won’t matter if inflation rises anyway. Our basic state pension remains one of the lowest in Europe.
WINTER FUEL ALLOWANCE — will be means tested in future so will no longer be given to wealthier pensioners. They will have to trust in global warming. Or they could move to Scotland where it will still apply because kilts are quite chilly.
FREE BUS PASSES —- will also be means tested (I think ?). But of course there are less and less buses anyway.
INHERITANCE TAX —- unchanged, but tax free allowance still due to rise to £1 million if you have any money left when you pop your clogs.
SOCIAL CARE COSTS —- this is the biggest and most controversial change, which may have cost them a lot of votes. It has been labled the ” dementia tax ” by all the other parties. Crass presentation of a complex issue may cost them a lot of seats and maybe even the election itself. Lack of honesty in the past on this issue is now coming back to haunt them.
You have always had to pay for your own social care unless you have less than £23,400. Your house is only taken into account when you die. The Conservatives are proposing to increase the asset test threshold to allow you to keep £100,000. This should be good news but only if you understood the rules in the first place. It enables people with relatively low value houses to pass on an inheritance instead of having it all gobbled up in paying for care, if they need it.
Belatedly, they said their would also be a cap to care costs but no figure was put on it. That is how the “dementia tax” tag came about.