Today (April 29th 2019), disgraced former Tory minister Damian Green published Fixing The Care Crisis for extreme free-marketeer libertarian public service-hating Centre for Policy Studies (CPS).
Tory policy for (the lack of) funding for social care has killed people in need of care and has caused financial difficulties for professional carers.
Green said a care system should be based on the ability to pay which he phrased as “wanting” a better service.
“The state would provide a Universal Care Entitlement (UCE), which could then be topped up by private support for those who want it via a Care Supplement.”
To fund UCE, Green proposed making the poorest pay for it by “taxing the winter fuel allowance” and enforcing “a 1% National Insurance surcharge on those over 50.”
His two-tier afford-or-die plan included the ability “to purchase a Care Supplement (CS) – something similar to an annuity or insurance policy – which ensures that money for more expensive care is available if needed.”
Green suggested this could be afforded by “savings or released equity on a house.” So, the least wealthy, with little savings or no such equity, would be left without extra care “if needed” and everyone else will lose their home and savings if they don’t want to die.
“Payment [for CS] is voluntary – people will have a choice about whether to pay, rather than seeing their tax bills inexorably rise.” Some people will have that “choice.” For people with a “choice” it will be receive care or keep home and savings. Green said the alternative option was tax-rises for middle-income earners rather than for the wealthiest.
Green compared his ideas to the current pension system.
“My proposal is that the Government adopts the state pension as the explicit model for the social care system. Everyone is given a reasonable state pension, but those who want something more attractive are encouraged and incentivised to provide for themselves. It is fair, it is politically attractive and widely supported – and it is a model we need to move across into social care.”
The fact that Green claimed the current British pension is “reasonable” was very worrying for those in need of social care if that is his definition of “reasonable.”
“Just as the state pension aims to keep all pensioners out of poverty while ensuring that those who provide for themselves are not penalised, so UCE would provide a good level of care if and when needed, without necessarily covering the ‘bells and whistles’.”
As the number of homeless pensioners demonstrates, the British pension does not “keep all pensioners out of poverty.” Apparently, according to Green, care needed for people to live is “bells and whistles.” His “bells” and his “whistles” included “larger rooms, better food, more trips, additional entertainment and so on.”
Without blinking Green noted that “social care has actually become 20% less productive over the last 20 years, meaning that taxpayers are putting in more money for a worse service” but he failed to note that was because of Tory privatisation whereby privateer vultures siphoned off funding and left little for actual care. He did admit that council funding for social care had dropped since 2010 but “the Government’s fiscal restraint
from 2010 was necessary and right.”
He was quick to dismiss a socialist solution.
“Some will argue that the way to solve this problem is simply to nationalise the care homes, and have all services provided by the state. But since this would both be ruinously expensive, and antithetical to freedom of choice, I will rule that option out.”
By “ruinously expensive” Green meant the privateer vultures, for whom the Tory party works, would no longer get free money if social care was nationalised. “Freedom of choice,” a popular phrase used by the charlatans at CPS, meant freedom of choice for the wealthiest to not pay more tax to fund vital public services for less wealthy.
Green mocked a socialist perspective on funding.
“The easiest solution politically is to say that everything must be free at the point of use, and that the funding to pay for this can come from ‘the rich’ (defined by everyone as someone richer than them).”
As he is aware, what a socialist would suggest is that privateer vultures should not make money out of care, via “ownership” of residential homes or as “agencies” supplying care professionals, and tax revenue should be raised by disenabling tax avoidance.
Green’s and CPS’s policy for social care is typical of free-market libertarian anti-society philosophy toward vital public services: Fleece middle-income people for all their savings and leave the poorest without vital help while ensuring the wealthiest don’t have any extra tax to pay and the privateer vultures can continue to receive free money for their non-contributions to the service. It is precisely the model that CPS wants for the entirety of the NHS.