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From The Socialist newspaper, 24 May 2017

May's 'dementia tax' wobble vs Corbyn's extra funds for care

May's 'dementia tax' and threats to winter fuel payments attack the elderly, photo Joe D Miles for CQC (Creative Commons)

May's 'dementia tax' and threats to winter fuel payments attack the elderly, photo Joe D Miles for CQC (Creative Commons)   (Click to enlarge)

Alison Hill

The Tories' so-called dementia tax pledge and threats to winter fuel payments seem stupid measures to propose on the eve of a general election.

Theresa May appears to have ignored efforts from her own hapless defence and whacked the ball squarely into the back of her own net. And then tried to fish the ball back out and pretend it never went in!

If you need social care rather than just treatment on the NHS - if you're dying of Alzheimer's rather than cancer, for example - the Tory manifesto says you will be means-tested.

For homeowners, that will include the value of your house. If it's worth over 100,000 you'll have to pay for care yourself - and the government could take your home to do it.

As is the way with lurching policy changes, the details are not clear. What happens if someone is living with you, for example?

Outrage

Following outrage, May insisted that the policy actually promises a cap on the cost of social care. At the time of writing it is not clear whether she means instead of or as well as the dementia tax.

Either way the Tories can't be trusted, not least because they went back on a 2015 promise to cap social care costs within months of being elected.

The Tory toffs have made sure they will be well looked after. They have a comfy parliamentary pension and a few directorships each to pay the bills. And of course there's their care home - the House of Lords.

Why should working and middle class people be able to own assets worth over 100,000, they ask. Why should we be a burden on the public purse by living longer, perhaps with chronic illness?

Health and social care should be publicly owned, fully funded and democratically run, not based on private companies making money by providing a limited service through the extreme exploitation of a low-paid workforce.

Jeremy Corbyn's manifesto would start to turn the table on the profit vultures, by making health trusts prefer NHS rather than private providers, as well as increasing funding for both the NHS and social care.

But to really pay for this, he will need to nationalise the banks, big pharmaceuticals and all the privatised bits of the NHS.

This would easily pay for a proper care system, integrated with the rest of the health service. Look at the mega-profits made by the pharmaceutical industry alone.

The Tories have shown what they think of us when we're too old or too sick to work.

Time to get rid of them and their rotten system.

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In The Socialist 24 May 2017:


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