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Writing in the Evening Standard, Andy Burnham puts his finger on the central issue in funding social care:
Boris may have introduced a cap on care costs but, at £86,000, it is still a huge sum of money. And the reason it is so high is because the Tories have stuck with the approach where only those who need care should have to pay.
So the Tories are in effect sticking with a "dementia tax" policy which will still make people face the indignity of draining their parents' bank accounts to pay for often sub-standard care.
And he proposes a solution that addresses it:
Here’s Labour’s opportunity to end this injustice once and for all and extend the NHS principle to social care. It should create a National Care Service. Labour should ask all older people to contribute, whether they need care or not. Everyone benefits from this Approach because it means no one has to worry about care costs in the later stages of their life. And by asking all older people to contribute, the cost comes right down.More than 10 years ago, I proposed this approach as health secretary as part of my plan for a National Care Service. My 10 per cent care levy on all estates was labelled a "death tax" but I still stand by it. Taxes are never popular but they are at least fair when everyone has to pay them and everyone feels some benefit.
The present system is a lottery. If your surviving parent drops dead with a heart attack you win everything. If they develop dementia even a couple of years before they die, you win nothing.
Speaking as the carer of an elderly parent, I'd welcome this levy, because it would give me some certainty about what I was going to inherit.
I'd be happy to trade a percentage of an inheritance that may never arrive for such certainty and security.