Storm as min­is­ter says: Don’t see home as an as­set to leave your kids

No 10 forced to re­as­sure mid­dle class pen­sion­ers

Scottish Daily Mail - - News - By Daniel Mar­tin Pol­icy Ed­i­tor

DOWN­ING Street yes­ter­day slapped down a min­is­ter who said pen­sion­ers should not think of their homes as an as­set to pass on to their chil­dren.

Care Min­is­ter Jackie Doyle-Price was recorded on film say­ing tax­pay­ers should not be ‘prop­ping up’ the el­derly so they can keep their homes de­spite build­ing up ‘mas­sive’ care costs.

She told a fringe event at the Tory con­fer­ence that when it comes to their homes, peo­ple see them­selves as ‘the cus­to­dian of an as­set to give to their off­spring’, adding: ‘They shouldn’t be seen as that.’

The Prime Min­is­ter’s spokesman re­jected the com­ments, say­ing fam­i­lies who have worked hard should be able to pass their homes on.

Labour seized on Miss Doyle-Price’s in­ter­ven­tion, say­ing it proved the Con­ser­va­tives were re­viv­ing the so-called ‘de­men­tia tax’, which dam­aged Mrs May’s chances dur­ing the gen­eral elec­tion. It came just days after it was re­vealed that the Gov­ern­ment is drop­ping its pledge to bring in a cap of around £75,000 on so­cial care costs by 2020.

The de­lay means thou­sands will con­tinue to be de­nied much of their in­her­i­tance if their par­ents have care needs.

Miss Doyle-Price’s in­ter­ven­tion comes after an­other min­is­ter, Dr Phillip Lee, sug­gested Bri­tons have be­come too ‘self­ish’ and were ‘out­sourc­ing’ the care of their loved ones.

Un­der Eng­land’s bro­ken care sys­tem, those who go into a res­i­den­tial home have to use their own as­sets to pay the full costs of their care un­til they are re­duced to their last £23,500.

The Tory elec­tion man­i­festo said these rules should be extended to those re­ceiv­ing care in their own homes. The plan was quickly dubbed the ‘de­men­tia tax’.

In the new footage, which was re­leased by Labour, Miss DoylePrice 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. ‘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.’ She added: ‘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.’

Asked whether Mrs May agrees with Miss Doyle-Price, the Prime Min­is­ter’s of­fi­cial spokesman said: ‘We have said that where there are care bills, it is right that where peo­ple can con­trib­ute, they do so.

‘But the Prime Min­is­ter has also said that where peo­ple have worked hard all their lives to build up these as­sets, they should be able to pass that on to their chil­dren. This is a com­plex is­sue with an age­ing pop­u­la­tion. The Gov­ern­ment has said that it will be bring­ing for­ward pro­pos­als in due

‘Propped up by the tax­payer’

course. In the mean­time we’ve put an ex­tra £2bil­lion into so­cial care to deal with some of these is­sues.’

Labour leader Jeremy Cor­byn said: ‘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. Labour will pro­vide hope for older peo­ple and treat them with the re­spect they de­serve by in­vest­ing an ex­tra £8bil­lion in so­cial care and es­tab­lish­ing a na­tional care ser­vice to re­verse years of Tory de­cline.’

Econ­o­mist Sir An­drew Dil­not, the ar­chi­tect of the Tories’ pledge to cap sky-high care bills, yes­ter­day re­peated his call for such a sys­tem to be in­tro­duced.

Fringe event: Jackie Doyle-Price

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