Death tax to pay for elderly care is scrapped

Plans for a new National Care Service providing free support for the elderly have been abandoned by the Government.

Rosa Prince
Political Correspondent
Telegraph [UK]
29 Mar 2010

The Daily Telegraph has learnt that in an embarrassing climbdown ministers have scrapped advanced proposals for a compulsory scheme that would have been funded partly by a £20,000 [$29,960] “death tax”.

The decision was made amid fears in Cabinet that arguments over funding would lose votes at a general election due within a few weeks.

For more than a decade, the Government has promised to find a solution to the growing problem of how to fund long-term care for the elderly. At the Labour Party conference last September, Gordon Brown announced proposals for a National Care Service, modelled on the NHS, to provide help regardless of a person’s income.

Ministers began discussing how the scheme would work, including suggestions of offering pensioners the chance to delay retirement or taking a compulsory levy from their estates after their death.

But today, Andy Burnham, the Health Secretary, will instead publish a Social Care White Paper that will offer a watered-down package of reforms.

This will include an offer to pay the costs of residential care after two years and a commitment to push ahead with proposals that would provide free care in the home for those with the greatest health needs.

The article continues at the Telegraph.

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