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24 November 2021

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Poorer pensioners fleeced by social care cap

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Brent Kennedy, Carlisle Socialist Party

What a shabby and cynical trick Tory ministers pulled on working-class pensioners while everyone's attention was on the sleaze scandals. Having promised in their election manifesto that "nobody needing care should be forced to sell their home to pay for it", they diluted their September announcement that care costs will be capped at 86,000 in their new Care Act for England, blowing the idea of 'levelling up' out of the water.

The cap will only apply to people's own payments, excluding the means-tested council contribution to which those with low savings or property values are entitled. In addition, vulnerable people in care homes would now have to pay the full cost of board and lodging of 200 a week (pension credit is only around 177), even when they had already reached the 'cap'. This is an attempt to fleece low and middle wage earners in their retirement or infirmity to save the Treasury 900 million pounds while protecting the assets of 'their people' for their heirs.

There's something of the poll tax about this. The Resolution Foundation explains: "If you own a 1 million house in the home counties, over 90% of your assets are protected. If you've got a terraced house in Hartlepool worth 70,000 you can lose almost everything."

The Tory populists claim that everyone affected would be better off, but even Andrew Dilnot, whose inadequate commission on the care system proposed a cap, spells out that "the people most harshly affected by this change are people with assets of exactly 106,000. But everyone with assets of less than 186,000 would do less well under what the government is proposing."

First the Tories increased workers' National Insurance contributions by 12 billion a year, supposedly to finance the care system, and now they are trying to expropriate much of their savings and family homes. The Socialist Party believes that the care system should be publicly owned and integrated into the NHS, free at the point of use, with all funding paid out of general taxation. But that doesn't mean more National Insurance or income tax rises: it means taxing the billionaires, banks and big corporations.

The Tories know how to brazenly look after their class, now we need a new mass party of working people to look after ours.

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In The Socialist 24 November 2021:


News

Workers' action can defeat weak and divided Tories

Working class strangled by price rises and pay cuts

Poorer pensioners fleeced by social care cap

Tories hammer nail in pensions triple lock coffin

HS2 eastern route cancelled: Fight for a workers' plan for public transport

Cricket's history of racism and elitism


NHS

Midwives march against unsafe staffing and for adequate funding

Tories responsible for NHS staff shortages


Violence against women

End sexism and violence against women


Socialism 2021

Socialism 2021: A steely determination to change society

What did you think of Socialism 2021?


Workplace news

Support uni workers' walk-out on pay and pensions

RMT to strike in London night-tube dispute

Panasonic workers strike against pay freeze

Tesco warehouse workers ballot for strike action

Sage care home workers' pay victory


International news

Historic victory of India's farmers

Sudan: "Hamdok has sold the revolution!"

USA: Right-wing vigilante Rittenhouse acquitted - capitalist courts will not defend the working class!


Working class history

Chartism: The world's first working-class movement


Neurodiversity

The struggle for accessible workplaces and an inclusive society


Obituary

Obituary: Ted Austin (1940-2021) - working-class socialist stalwart


Campaigns

Victory! Hackney children's centres saved!

West Sussex: Payouts for council bosses, cuts for us

Newham: Durning Hall - another shameful act of Labour gentrification

Slough: Adult service cuts will leave vulnerable homeless

Northampton: Phoney consultation to mask cuts

Selling the Socialist


 

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