LLA: Government should follow up ‘pension freedoms’ with ‘care freedoms’

Ryan Bembridge

November 1, 2018

The Later Life Academy’s Stuart Wilson has called on the government to follow up on the ‘pension freedoms’ with ‘care freedoms’ to help people secure care in later life.

Wilson was speaking at a debate on ‘Tackling Care & Capacity with Housing Wealth’ at today’s FSE Midlands event at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry.

Wilson said: “The government should definitely consider ‘care freedoms’.

“And as part of that they should also look at the tax breaks that could be offered.

“For example, if there is a payment made directly to a care provider from an individual’s pension, then why shouldn’t the tax be taken off this?”

Wilson said the government needs to engage with the private sector around how people who could afford to pay for their own care might do so, and the methods they could use such as equity release.

He added: “The problem we have at the moment is that people are using their housing wealth to pay for their care but it’s being done because Local Authorities are compelling them to do it.

“We need to give them much more choice about the options they can secure and how they might pay for it.

“It shouldn’t just be about having to accept what the Local Authority tell them they can have.”

Others on the panel agreed that something needs to be done.

Gary Webster of the Equity Release Supermarket said: “I have gone through the process myself with my mum, who is 91 years old and I can tell you there is no sign-posting.”

Webster also said that while the current suite of later life lending products fitted well with funding social, domiciliary care they didn’t fit as well with long-term care provision.

He added: “lenders won’t allow the property to be let out where the borrower goes into care.

“This is a gap which could be filled by more lenders – currently we have Canada Life who allow the consumer to let out the property if the borrower is going into long-term care but that doesn’t come with the Equity Release Council Safeguards.”

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