Tories refuse to take part in elderly care talks19th February 2010
The issue of a compulsory fee to pay for social care in England is soaring to the top of the political agenda.
The Department of Health is hosting a summit meeting to discuss the issues with charities, council leaders and care providers in an effort to achieve a consensus on reforming care.
But while the government is under pressure to back a compulsory fee, the Conservatives have refused to attend the talks.
They have branded the levy on a person’s estate as a death tax and instead want to see a voluntary scheme.
However, the Liberal Democrats are attending and say they are open to the idea of a compulsory charge.
Dame Joan Bakewell, the government-appointed Voice of Older People, said the matter was a big issue and would take time to reach a consensus.
“This flurry of political point scoring is just getting in the way of it, because really the politicians need to listen more and do less sparring with each other,” she said.
In opening the talks Health Secretary Andy Burnham said the issue was bigger than "any single political party" but shadow health secretary Andrew Lansley said they were "a Labour Party political ploy".
The Local Government Association has demanded clarity over the issue amid fears councils will be left to pick up the bill while the charity for the elderly, Counsel and Care, has called for a serious debate.
The government hopes to publish its preferred option in March, though the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services wants a compulsory charge.
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Friday 19th February 2010 @ 21:27
I am currently fighting to keep my mother's house out of the clutches of my local authority. I am not opposed to the principle of people contributing towards their care, but robbing vulnerable pensioners of their pensions and their homes simply is not fair. Mum worked all her life, paid her taxes and NI then struggled to buy her house after retiring. My family feel we have been misled and medical reports have been economical with the facts in order to tailor mum to fit the local authority's criteria for social care rather than for medical care.
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Title: Tories refuse to take part in elderly care talks
Author: Mark Nicholls
Article Id: 14123
Date Added: 19th Feb 2010