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Tories 'to limit cost of care'
Elderly woman
Long-term care is currently means tested in England
The Conservatives are promising to limit the amount people have to pay towards nursing and residential care in England.

The Scottish Executive has already promised to provide it for free - but in England, the elderly are means-tested for financial contributions.

The Tories want to let people put money into special accounts, which would protect their other assets against being used to pay those bills.


What is the point of saving to be able to leave something for your children and grandchildren if the state confiscates almost all your savings?

Dr Liam Fox, Shadow Health Secretary
Shadow Health Secretary Dr Liam Fox said that people who make their own, private provision to pay for 25,000 to 30,000 of residential care costs would be indemnified by the state if their stay in residential care proved to be longer and more expensive than the average.

If the fund was not ultimately required - currently only one person in four requires long-term care - it would be inherited by the next generation.

At present, people with assets of about 18,500 have to pay for the long-term care.

Point of saving

Dr Liam Fox
Dr Liam Fox wants people to save for long-term care
Dr Fox said: "Those people who make a reasonable provision for themselves will know that if they require more long-term care than that amount the state won't take away their home or savings to pay for it.

"What is the point of saving to be able to leave something for your children and grandchildren if the state confiscates almost all your savings - and your house too - to pay for care costs?

"I want to create a responsible society. I want to create a society in which people are rewarded for thinking ahead and are encouraged to save.

"I want to create a society in which people do not live under the threat of the government confiscating their life savings and their family homes."

Health Secretary Alan Milburn says the Tories' plans on long-term care "code for privatisation of health and social care services for the elderly".

The government argues that private insurance would not provide sufficient funds need for long-term care.

A Labour spokeswoman said: "The Tories never supported free nursing care in government."


The Tories are offering nothing to pensioners on modest means

Paul Burstow, Liberal Democrats
Paul Burstow, for the Liberal Democrats, accused the Tories of giving up on old people.

"The Tories are offering nothing to pensioners on modest means or those on middle incomes unable to pay for long-term care bills or provide a private pension for themselves.

"The National Health Service was built on the principle of being national, comprehensive and free at the point of need.

"But elderly patients with Alzheimer's or dementia are forced to sell their homes simply to be fed, washed and dressed while cancer patients in hospital receive free care.

"Liberal Democrats are committed to providing free personal care on the basis of need.

"There is no justification for forcing elderly patients to insure themselves against the unpredictable risk that they might need care at some time in the future."

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's James Westhead
"The latest bid for the 'grey vote'"
Dr Liam Fox, Shadow Health Secretary
"This is a partnership between the state and the individual"
See also:

27 Jul 00 | NHS reform
05 Mar 01 | Health
05 Mar 01 | Health
27 Jul 00 | UK
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