A Tory minister has risked reopening the so-called “dementia tax” row by claiming taxpayers “shouldn’t necessarily be propping up people to keep their property”.
Jackie Doyle-Price, the Government’s care minister, suggested homes “shouldn’t be seen” by people as “an asset to give to their offspring” as she addressed the issue of social care funding.
In video footage to emerge from a fringe event at last week’s Conservative Party conference, the Thurrock MP said: “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.”
She later added the Tories will be “very much looking at… the whole issue of caps and floors”, with the Government set to consult on changes to the social care system.
Speaking of the current system being “unfair” on taxpayers, Ms Doyle-Price went on: “People are now well into their pension ages sitting in homes that really are too big for their needs and we do need to start having those conversations about what’s appropriate earlier.”
In the Conservative manifesto ahead of June’s General Election, the party said they would take into account the value of a person’s home when means-testing care funding.
Although the party promised to protect £100,000 of a person’s wealth critics soon dubbed the proposed policy a “dementia tax”, as those facing expensive care could face huge costs.
Amid the backlash, Theresa May was forced to announce an unspecified cap would be introduced on care costs, although many blamed the row for derailing the Tory campaign ahead of an election which cost the party their House of Commons majority.
The controversial plans appeared to have been sidelined when the Queen’s Speech included merely a commitment to “improve” social care funding, but stopped short of specific proposals ahead of a consultation.
Responding to Ms Doyle-Price’s comments, a Downing Street spokesman told the Daily Telegraph: “We clearly recognise that there is an imbalance in the current system with the way people’s assets are treated depending on whether they need domiciliary care or not, but as a party we want to be able to promote people passing on property to their children as much as possible.
“We are looking at social care as a long-term challenge and we will publish a green paper in due course.”
Labour accused Ms Doyle-Price of reviving the so-called “dementia tax” row.
“The idea of a ‘dementia tax’ was rightly rejected by the public during the General Election,” said party leader Jeremy Corbyn.
“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.”
(c) Sky News 2017: Tory minister Jackie Doyle-Price risks reopening ‘dementia tax’ row