When I was young, in the 1950s and 60s, there were babies everywhere, prams littered the pavements as the UK experienced a huge postwar baby boom. These children grew up to build, with the help of Margaret Thatcher’s reforms, modern Britain. Our wealth, our infrastructure, our businesses, hospitals and schools. As a generation they have done more to create quality of life and prosperity than any previous generation. But now they are getting older and need looking after. But unfortunately subsequent generations were much smaller so there is a demographic problem in finding enough money and enough people to do this.
Successive governments have come up with a number of policies to help handle this problem.
- By not increasing the state pension in line with inflation for many years it has become a pittance and in no way reflects the value of the money these people put into it. State robbery basically.
- By increasing the pension age, formerly 60 for women and 65 for men, to 67 for both sexes. This is fair as people are living a lot longer and enjoying a length of retirement that was never planned for.
- Mass immigration. Let’s bring in huge numbers of foreigners to replace the native population. We were never consulted about this. The EU citizens who came here shared many common values and tended to integrate and contribute. However especially with the Turks, Bangladeshis, Pakistanis and Somalis we have brought in we have made a huge mistake, they tend not to contribute to society but to become parasites on it. But they breed very quickly.
Which brings us to what happens when old people become infirm. In most countries old people are looked after by their families, successive generations taking the responsibility. In Britain we have a very strange system where if the person stays in their own home then they receive care paid for by other people (taxpayers) but if they are warehoused in care homes they pay themselves.
Old people tend to be asset rich so greedy families are often only concerned with what they are going to inherit when the old dear pops his/her clogs. Many old, infirm people become tragic prisoners in their own homes. Social services give them several flying visits a day to feed and clean them, other than which they live in terrible solitude in homes that have become prisons. Well off people love this, it maximises their inheritance and other people are paying for looking after their family.
So the Conservatives have come up with fair, moral, decent proposals to make the system equitable for everyone, the old, their families, the rich, the poor and everyone in between.
So this is what they are doing (see page 64 & 65 of the Conservative Manifesto which is an essential read):
- Putting social care in the family home on the same financial basis as residential homes. This will force families to meet their own responsibilities if they want to maximise their inheritance. It will have the effect of releasing hundreds of thousand of elderly people from their virtual prisons.
- Protecting £100,000 of each person’s inheritance. No matter how many years a person needs a care home for, there will still be a lump of money inherited and kept within the family.
- Making the cost of care collectible only after death and the death of the spouse if that is later. Nobody needs to sell their house or their antiques.
This is very progressive, so all socialists should love it. Poor people and poor families will be much better off. Rich families will have to pay themselves, instead of expecting other people to pay for looking after their elderly members.
It is brave, honest and strong for Theresa May to introduce this during an election. It is a well thought out, decent, moral and fair solution to a huge problem that was spiraling out of control. All the alternatives suggested by the other parties are utterly unaffordable, unless tax and borrowing goes through the roof.
Families need to learn some morals and to take responsibility for all their members. Often it is a far better solution for three generations to live together in the same house, maximising mutual support. As for inheritance, the British Baby Boomers are in the process of giving £400bn to subsequent generations of their families, the biggest inter-generational windfall in the history of Great Britain. It would be even more, but Gordon Brown stole £118bn from pension funds.
Some people are saying that it is unfair that some people will die quickly, with a heart attack, maximising the inheritance. Whist others will die slowly from dementia, minimising the inheritance. Well hard luck, life isn’t fair and this is no good reason to expect others to pay for your family’s costs.