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09 Dec 2021

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Social care funding – where’s the problem?

By guest blogger BOB FERGUSON

Why is everyone so flummoxed when the answer is so obvious? Social care is staring into the abyss, yet we are repeatedly warned against even contemplating general taxation as the source of the necessary funding. That, we’re told, would be unfair to generation Y, aka “millennials”, who are already struggling to make ends meet while senior citizens allegedly pore over their abacuses, calculating the unearned profits from their housing wealth.

However, the generational conflict appears to have been over-confected. Once the taxman has taken his pound of flesh, the ultimate beneficiaries of this windfall something for nothing will be none other than the aforesaid “millennials”. They also have what could be called a vested interest in something that may appear alien to them – about, to pick a phrase at random, people in some far away country of whom they know nothing.

At some stage, unless medical science really does go beyond the final frontier – producing a vaccine against old age and disability – they will themselves have to face up to the issues that confront today’s old and needy. My message to them and their apologists is: yes, life’s tough, but it always has been in one way or another. Get over it.

Meanwhile, what have our political masters been up to since they announced their plan to publish a green paper? I mean, there’s clearly no shortage of imagination. That much has been amply demonstrated by the Tory party’s leadership candidates – “the Thelma and Louise of Brexit” – in their pie-in-the-sky hunt (no pun intended) for unicorns. And the rash of give-away pledges suggests money won’t be an object either.

As I’ve said, the answer is simple. Just ask the question: free care, yes or no? When all is said and done, the attendant circumstances are no more complicated than those that surrounded the binary choice we were asked to make three years ago; and that went well, didn’t it? What’s not to like? We may be a parliamentary democracy, but a surge of populism seems to have kindled an enthusiasm for referendums; so, let’s do it again.

Oh, I nearly forgot the important qualification. Following the example set by the governing party’s election of the next prime minister, the franchise for this vote would also be limited: to those who are either disabled or state pensioners. Power to (some of) the people!

  • The CT Blog is written in a personal capacity – comments and opinions expressed are not necessarily endorsed or supported by Caring Times.

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