Government Urged To Help More People Get Care At Home

The government’s new proposals to pay for the increasing demand for social care have generated much debate, but one policy commentator has suggested the emphasis needs to be less on funding more residential homes and more on enabling people to live in their own homes in later life.

Writing on the Conservative Home website, Harry Phipps said the debate about whether people might need to sell their home to pay for care or should have everything provided by the taxpayer missed the important point that it is possible to keep more people living in their own homes for longer.

He proposed a series of steps that could enable this to take place. One of these would be to axe stamp duty for downsizing. This would enable older residents of large homes to sell them on – freeing them up for families – and to move into properties that may be much more suited to their needs, not least being cheaper to run.

Another proposal was to make planning permission easier to achieve to build specialist homes for retirement, enabling people to live more independently in old age. He noted that countries like the US and Australia have far better provision in this area.

Such homes could of course, be fitted with a wide range of facilities designed to make life easier for those with disabilities, such as mobility bathrooms.

Noting that Britons are twice as likely as Italians and four times as likely as Poles to end up in care homes, Mr Phipps concluded: ”We are constantly told it is “inevitable” that evermore of us can expect that fate. But why should we accept outcomes that are so much worse than other countries?”

The plans announced by the government last week are expected to raise an extra £12 million a year through higher national insurance premiums.

However, the Institute for Fiscal Studies has warned that as much of this is earmarked for the NHS, growing demand to spend money on health could swallow up the bulk of the money, leaving very little for social care.


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