Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Caring for the elderly

This is a good idea, via here, "Stephen Burke, director of Counsel & Care, points out that all care could be free with a levy of just 2.5% paid on every estate over £10,000 after death."

I know that I'm out of line with the majority in that I don't understand why so many people seem to think it is unfair to have to pay tax if you inherit more than £350,000. But surely even people who don't like Inheritance Tax for whatever reason can see that something like this makes a lot of sense.

It would guarantee everyone a high standard of care and dignity for a predictable and relatively small cost. Compare to the current system in which the amount that people can pass on to their kids depends on how sick they get and how much care they need, and whether you are able to live with dignity in older age depends largely on where you live.

In fact, the levy would need to be higher than 2.5%, because the current standards of care which most elderly people receive aren't good enough in this century, and the amount that people get paid to care for the elderly and vulnerable is disgustingly low. But even a 5% levy (i.e. taking all the current spending on care, and doubling it) would leave most families better off, and make sure that the people who contribute most are the ones most able to do so.

The comments on Polly Toynbee's piece are all 'stealth tax, punishing the people who save, we already pay too much'. But it's the current system that really hits middle income earners. For the sake of not paying a little bit more tax when inheriting money, they pay out several times as much in care home fees, not to mention all the stress and misery. Sometimes, taxes aren't an extra burden on top of all the other bills for most people, but cheaper and better alternative to what's on offer at the moment.

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