Former Personal Finance Society chief executive Tim Eadon has been appointed chief executive of long-term care at equity-release specialist EquityCare.
In his new role, Eadon is urging more providers to enter the long-term care market, which is currently dominated by Partnership.
He also wants to see a national care service set up – which Labour has proposed in its election manifesto – which should provide all people with a base level of state-funded care, irrespective of means.
Eadon founded domiciliary care specialist Better Retirement in March 2009 after leaving the PFS in July 2008.
He became business development director of EquityCare after the two companies merged early this year. He replaces former chief executive Barbara Davies who will focus on other projects in the care sector.
Eadon says: “The care market is severely underplayed. There are now more people who are over 65 than under 16, which is a huge demographic change, but all we really have is a care fee annuity and it is exactly the same product as it was 15 years ago.
“Partnership has an 80 per cent share of that market. Axa is the other player but it does not seem willing to put any resources behind it.
“This market is a no-brainer because the need is huge – but we need to have more providers involved.”
There is around £1.1tn of equity tied up in the homes of people aged over 65, which makes equity release an attractive alternative for people who want to be cared for at home, according to Eadon.
He says: “Whichever way you look at it, there is going to be a need for people to pay for care at home. It will not be supported to any great extent by the state because the state cannot afford it.
“The Government is starting to wake up to this as a vote-winner or loser. It is almost like a silver bullet. If they can find some way to release this cash, it then becomes far more palatable but no one is coming out with any firm policies because it can demolish the grey vote if they get it wrong. “Labour has kicked this into the long grass, saying they will make a decision in 2016.”
Eadon says the least painful option would be adding 1 per cent to income tax but he insists this must be earmarked for care.
He says: “Three-quarters of everyone over 85 is going to need care. It happens to most people. Irrespective of means, everybody should get some form of state-funded care, even if it is just a base level. Then, if you are particularly destitute you can get more of it paid for you but if you are not you can pay it yourself.
“We need a national care service like the NHS but the funding needs to be ringfenced, otherwise it would not be palatable.”