LETTER: Dementia tax - A fair and equitable system

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Ruth George is the first female MP for the High Peak and I found her leaflets honest, refreshing and easily understood. 
She cares and empathises as someone who understands and appreciates the pressures of family life in the High Peak and the difficulties and problems people are facing. Edwina says “She has a lot to follow,” but she has a head start being familiar with parliament and MPs from her job and being involved in many improvement campaigns related to school funding, traffic congestion and pollution, fair pay, taxes and benefits and the NHS and social care. 
I dispute Martin Cutts point that she wrongly referred to the dementia tax and that there was no such proposal in the Tory manifesto. 
My sister was diagnosed five years ago with vascular dementia which is a progressive illness. People want to stay in their own homes and with the care from family and help of social services and community nursing that was possible for her for four years. She received a means tested budget linked to the assessment of her social and medical needs. If her house had been included in that assessment of her assets then no way could she have stayed at home because she would have had no extra budget entitlement and no carers to support her family. It is the dementia sufferers who would have to enter care homes earlier in these circumstances. Anyone who has had to look after such family members knows about the continuous stress, pressure and worries the family members are faced with means they just could not cope. They really need that additional help and support.
Including the home value in the equation would prevent people from remaining in their own homes and having some measure of independence. She is now settled in a good quality local care home having had experience of four others which were not suitable but she pays £700 a week having had to sell her house to pay such fees. The system of deferring fees already happens today but better to pay your way whilst you are here than have administrative costs and interests accruing on those deferred costs which would have been the situation. 
Finding a system of providing social care which is fair and equitable will not be easy. Ruth George says “By working together we can all make a difference.” Surely it is in this area of social care that we need cross party consensus to ensure it is not used as a political football.

Kath Holtom

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