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Thursday, 12 October 2017

Health Minister's comments show Government pressing on with 'dementia tax' - Labour

Written by Gavin Cordon

Labour has accused the Government of pressing on with its so-called "dementia tax" reforms after a minister said taxpayers should not be "propping up" people to keep their own homes while they were generating "massive" care costs.

Video footage obtained by Labour shows Health Minister Jackie Doyle-Price (pictured) saying that when it came to their homes, people saw themselves as "the custodian of an asset to give to their offspring" and that "they shouldn't be seen as that".

The Conservatives' manifesto proposal for elderly people to pay for their care costs from the proceeds of the sale of their homes after they die was seen as one of the key factors behind the loss of Theresa May's Commons majority in last June's election.

The plan was quickly dubbed the "dementia tax" by opponents and the Prime Minister was forced to partially backtrack during the campaign, saying there would be a "cap" on the total costs people would have to pay, as the Government had previously promised.

Ministers have since said they will bring forward proposals to reform the funding of adult social care for consultation, although the Queen's Speech in June setting out the Government's programme for the next two years did not include any provision for legislation.

However, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said Ms Doyle-Price's comments - filmed during a fringe meeting at the Conservative Party conference in Manchester - showed they were still committed to the original plan.

In the footage released by Labour, Ms Doyle-Price says: "The reality is that the taxpayer shouldn't necessarily be propping up people to keep their property and hand it on to their children when they're generating massive care needs.

"We've got to a stage where people feel that they are the custodian of an asset to give to their offspring but actually we need to get back to a stage where actually homes are for living in - they shouldn't be seen as that.

"People are now well into their pension ages sitting in homes that really are too big for their needs and we really do need to start having those conversations about what's appropriate earlier."

Mr Corbyn, who is visiting a community centre in Shipley, West Yorkshire, on Thursday to highlight Labour's plans to invest £8 billion in social care over the next parliament, said the plan was "appalling".

"The idea of a 'dementia tax' was rightly rejected by the public during the general election. It is appalling that the Tories still want to force older people to pay for care with their homes," he said.

"Labour will provide hope for older people and treat them with the respect they deserve by investing an extra £8 billion in social care and establishing a national care service to reverse years of Tory decline

"It can't be right that if you have a heart condition you're treated on the NHS but if you have dementia you have to pay with your home."

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