A former government minister has criticised the suggestion that well-off pensioners should look to downsize or remortgage their homes to meet the cost of care home fees.
John Godfrey, a senior aide to the Prime Minister, had said that many elderly people had “an awful lot of money” trapped in their property and that selling up or releasing equity might be the most effective solution to the funding crisis facing Britain’s social care system.
Mr Godfrey, who was recently appointed as Theresa May’s director of policy, had made the controversial comments last year.
His argument this week faced vehement criticism from Baroness Altmann, who had been the Pensions Minister under Mrs May’s predecessor David Cameron.
Lady Altmann said that successive governments had promised wide-reaching reform of the care system for many years, but the changes so often discussed had failed to materialise.
She said she was deeply frustrated by the failure to get to grips with the care crisis and said that politicians could not keep kicking the issue into the long grass.
“This is a betrayal of the older generation and the taxpayers who will have to foot the bill,” she said.
“Governments who kick the can down the road, who keep saying they are going to do something about social care and then don’t – they are betraying elderly people and their children, who won’t be able to inherit their properties and could end up picking up the bill themselves.”
Around one in ten people have to pay in excess of £100,000 in later life according to previous research, with as many as 40,000 individuals a year being forced to sell their home to cover the costs.