Two excellent responses to the Conservatives’ social care manifesto proposal: Torsten Bell at the Resolution Foundation and, of course, The King’s Fund.
It took me quite a long time to figure out the main implications of the proposals (I’m not sure I understand them even now).
We can summarise them as:
- If you have assets under £100,000, you’re a winner
- If you have assets over £100,000, you’re not a winner
In essence, the Tory answer to the question “who pays for social care?” is “you, not us”.
Coupled with the proposal to scrap the universall Winter Fuel Allowance, one argument is that the Conseratives’ proposals are progressive, redistributive mechanisms that will benefit people from lower incomes, or working-age people who have been reliant on social care for their adult lives (and are less likely to have built up assets).
The counter argument – including when comparing the proposals against the Dilnot Commission’s proposals – is that these proposals create a further breakdown in the inherent universalism and sharing of risk that only government can provide (see also: the NHS).
These proposals may provide a financial solution to the social care crisis*, but they certainly don’t shore up the idea that “we’re all in this together”.
*Though deferred payments from housing still requires large short- and medium-term injections of cash, and we don’t know how inheritance law and behaviour will respond to these announcements.