Social Care Plans Are "a Complete Betrayal Of North East" Starmer

He dubbed the reforms, which passed the House of Commons this week despite a rebellion by some Conservative MPs, “a working-class dementia tax”.

However, Darlington’s Conservative MP Peter Gibson said that everyone would be better off under the reforms than they are through the current system, and North West Durham Richard Holden said: “Rather than trying to play party political games, it’s time for the Labour leader to either provide his own plan or admit that he hasn’t got one and is happy accept the status quo of uncapped care costs crippling hard working families across the North East.”

The Labour Party revealed that nine in ten constituencies in the North East have house prices lower than the national average, but everyone across the country, irrespective of their assets, will have to pay the first £86,000 of their care costs.

Speaking exclusively to The Northern Echo, Mr Starmer said: “How does someone in Redcar, where the average house price is £133,000, or Bishop Auckland, where it is £125,000, realistically raise the £86,000 without selling their house? I think most people would say ‘of course I’m going to have to sell my house to pay that sort of money’.”

When Mr Starmer raised this point with Boris Johnson at a stormy Prime Minister’s Questions yesterday, he replied that the Government was introducing a “housing disregard” so that no one would be forced to sell their home while either they, or their partner, are living in it.

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“You will have to defer the payment to have it taken away from your estate at the end of the exercise,” said Mr Starmer. “If your house is worth £133,000 and you take £86,000 away, you are effectively depriving people of a significant amount of their inheritance.”

“It is a complete betrayal of people in the North East who took the Government at its word, only to learn that when they gave their word on taxes not going up, they didn’t keep it, when they gave their word on building new hospitals, they haven’t kept it, and now we know that when they gave their word on social care, they haven’t kept it.

“It is a string of broken promises across the North East.”

At PMQs yesterday, Mr Starmer waved the Conservative manifesto in which there was a pledge that no one would have to sell their homes to fund their care costs.

He said that a person with assets worth £100,000, including their house, would now contribute 80 per cent of their wealth to care costs and almost certainly lose their home, whereas someone with assets of £1m would lose less than 10 per cent of their wealth and therefore be more likely to keep their home.

Labour’s alternative, he told the Echo, was a “preventative policy” to help people stay longer in their own homes where they would be looked after by properly valued careworkers. This would be paid for by a “fair” rise in taxation that would include those who earned income from stocks and shares. In contrast, the Government’s planned National Insurance rise, he said, would hit working people hardest.

All parties agree the existing social care arrangements are not acceptable, but the battle to reform them is becoming one of the most hotly contested issues of the Parliament.

Mr Holden said: “For decades, governments of all shades have ducked trying to stop the tragic lottery of unlimited costs if a family member, like has happened in my own family, gets dementia and requires social care.

“Sadly, Sir Keir Starmer has consistently whipped Labour MPs to vote against the extra £36bn for our NHS and social care just a few weeks ago, voting to stick with the current system of unlimited costs rather than move towards a system that limits costs which can run into hundreds of thousands of pounds at the moment.

“Starmer is now attacking the Government’s plan to limit care costs without coming forward with one of his own.”

Mr Gibson said: “Tackling long term care costs is essential and the recent announcements mean that the floor for the means test has increased to £20,000, the ceiling has increased fourfold to £100,000 and a lifetime cap on care costs has been introduced at £86,000.

“In addition, a guarantee that you do not have sell your home to pay for care whilst in it is welcome security for many.

“Labour claim to have the solutions to this but failed to provide a solution whilst in Government and still have no costed plan.

“Everyone under these changes will be better off than they are now.”

Source :

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