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Peers warn elderly will still be forced to sell homes under LTC reforms

Labour peer Lord David Lipsey is warning thousands of people will still be forced to sell their homes to pay for long-term care under Government plans.

Under the Care Bill, individuals seeking long-term care will be forced to run down their assets to below £23,250 before they can qualify for the voluntary deferred payments system.

The system would see people take a loan out from their local authority and then repay it when they die to stop them losing their home.

In the House of Lords last night more than 200 rebels voted to make the voluntary deferred payments system available to all but the Government’s position passed.

Health minister Earl Howe said more than 40,000 people will be able to keep their homes under the changes, which come into force in April 2016.

Lord Warner, who was on Andrew Dilnot’s commission on long-term care, warned the changes are “pretty rough” and the Government was giving the wrong impression.

Speaking to Money Marketing, Lord Lipsey, who is Society of Later Life Advisers president and long-term care expert, said the policy is “indefensible”.

He says: “People will still have to sell their homes as there will be practically no take-up of Dilnot if the Government sticks to this. A major plank of Dilnot has been whisked away. My guess is the Government will do a U-turn on it because it is indefensible and without justification.

“I hope they change because otherwise they will face an army of protest that will harm the coalition and the Government. It has to drop the threshold.”

In the Government consultation, published in July, it promised the Care bill would “protect people from having to pay for their home”.

The Telegraph reports Labour health secretary Andy Burnham calling for social care to become free for all under the NHS paid for by a “death tax” charging levies on people’s estates.

He says: “It’s quite a powerful vision. You’d create the conditions for true integration if you had a level playing field. Then you can say to the public, all of your care or your parents’ care will be free at the point of use and the vast majority of what they’ve worked for will be protected.”

Labour has rebuked Burnham and said it is not Labour party policy, according to The Telegraph report. 

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There is one comment at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. I am a big fan of Lord Lipsey, but I don’t agree on this point.

    One of the central purposes of the Paying for Care reforms in England is for people not to have to sell their home. It is not intended for people who have cash/investments to have more wealth planning options by being able to keep investments (and the growth on them) whilst borrowing elsewhere for care fees.

    Indeed, bearing in mind that the new deferred payment arrangements will include interest roll up, such a strategy (which would be possible right now for some using an equity release scheme or similar) would I think be highly risky and would not be what most people would be advised to do.

    Even if a caree/a family were adventurous enough to want to borrow to invest (or to remain invested) in this way, one would also have to question whether making it possible for them to do so would be a valid use of local government/central government funds.

    I do think that the approach that is proposed is the right one. I also think that those of us who do know about all these care matters need to be careful about the listening we put out there. The general press are reporting this today as a ‘u turn’ and a ‘betrayal’ even though this is still all as published in the July 2013 consultation paper.

    COMMENTS ADDED TO THIS PAGE ARE MY OWN PERSONAL VIEW AND NOT THOSE OF LEBC GROUP. WHILST I AM HAPPY FOR MY VIEWS TO BE REPRODUCED IN THIS AND OTHER ARTICLES ON THE WEBSITE, AND INDEED WOULD POSITIVELY WELCOME AND ENCOURAGE IT, LEBC GROUP SHOULD NOT BE LINKED TO THEM.

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