This blog was originally going to be about how unhelpful the newspapers’ focus on the Commission on the Funding of Care and Support’s decision to not automatically discount bringing in a “Death Tax” was, but since I started writing, the government has ruled it out completely, according to Community Care.
This isn’t a surprise, to be honest. Firstly, the government would want to defuse criticism from the newspapers that saw this as the Conservatives back-tracking on their stance from the election campaign.
But in any case, since it was christened the “Death Tax”, that idea – a compulsory levy on estates after death – would have been impossible to implement because of the backlash from the press it would get and the image it has in the public’s eye. Whether or not it was the best option is a moot point.
But on the upside this should help bring about a more reasoned debate in the media on what the funding options are – no more tub-thumping headlines screaming about the injustice of the “Death Tax”, for instance.
Many people do not understand the social care or benefits systems currently, so a clear setting out of the current regimes, along with an explanation of all the options being considered and their relative merits/downsides would be good.
Not that there is that much to cover now. Currently, there would seem to be 2 options realistically on the table; a voluntary insurance scheme and a partnership of state finance and service user finance. A system completely funded by users or by the state was ruled out by the last government and has hardly been mentioned by this one, so I think we can assume those ideas aren’t really being considered.
So, it seems as if the commission’s job is to decide which of the 2 options – or slight variations on – is better.
Considering when this last went out to consultation there was no consensus on which option was best, they have a tough job ahead.
So how does the commission decide? Perhaps they should get Harry Hill in – “There’s only one way to find out…”