Today I’ve been listening a great deal to talk about reforms of the costs of care for the old. The essence of what is being proposed is that the threshhold for getting free care may be raised from a paltry £23,000 to £100,000. It surprises me just how readily older people have been shafted up until now. It seems that those who have clearly paid a lot into the national pot over the years through taxes in order to accumulate assets and save up for their future are severely penalised as a result. Whereas those who have not bothered to save at all are rewarded at the end by not losing anything when it comes to paying for the care in their old age. Yes, I know that that is a somewhat simplistic way of expressing it, but there are a lot of people out there who worked hard to amass a future only to have that future stripmined out from under them and in some cases losing around 90% of their assets.
In my own experience I’ve seen one of my Grandmothers fall victim to this. The powers that be were quite happy to try and take as much as they could despite my Grandfather being alive and well (although old and registered blind). Luckily for him they had had the foresight to seperate their accounts some years before, and they were unable to take his assets; only hers. That didn’t stop them trying though. A lot of old people wouldn’t have been so strong and would have effectively been mugged by the state.
When you think of the lifetime of taxes that they contributed, it is somewhat scandalous. And there are so many other people in that position too. It is also something that cannot be insured against. Whilst we ‘insure’ against medical issues through the NHS, and insure our homes and property through other insurance schemes, we are all left at the mercy of old age and the costs that it will bring. I know that I would be furious to find that after a lifetime of paying taxes I would be expected to lose almost all of my assets over the last few years of my life. I have little doubt that many old people feel the same, as they spend their last months or years watching the state happily take everything material that was of value to them.
I strongly believe that it is about time the system changed. In a time of such austerity there may be those who question affording this. But I say that this was money that they were never entitled to, morally. If this country is to be pulled from bankruptcy, it must not be done by taking from the old and infirm.