FUNDING social care differently was never going to be easy, not least because of the gloss the mainstream media places on the clinical state of the photogenic most nimble elderly, actually requiring variable care, and the highlighting of the onerous burdens such funding of their needs would place upon the young (now often with debt funding their education).

The spectrum of care needs is indeed huge, and currently varies from the provision of basic assistance over the short term – to enable the elderly resident of their own home to be safe and/or recover from illness – through to the elderly advanced dementia patient requiring ongoing permanently bed-bound residential care in a care home.

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To compound the problem, austerity over several decades has shifted the formal ethos of official social care provision from the determination and provision of what is considered appropriate for the individual to an ethos of rationing the determination and provision of services.

The NHS has retrenched into acute mental health service treatment only for the elderly patient, with those determined as now being beyond help transferred to self-funded residential care.

There is clearly some difficulty in heading in both directions at once, and with those tasked with determining the needs and funding of the individual already in full rationing mode, with their jobs and any career advancement on the line for any deviation from the corporate ethos.

Aside from the retraining and rebuilding costs required of social care services, targeted funding of the individual would vary from an ad hoc several hundred pounds through to around £1,000 per week (inclusive of free personal care and nursing care). For the avoidance of doubt, any accommodation provision better than above average could easily incur another £1,000 per week fee demand.

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An above average care home fee per week excluding discount for Free personal (FPC) and nursing care (NC) is about £500 per week more than the LA would provide for the individual needing care once self-funding becomes impossible (nearer £750 per week).

The simplest way forward might well be along the lines to provide up to some £1500 per week per individual needing care on the proviso that 85% of their Pillar 1 state pension and 85% of their Pillar 2 private pension is used as match funding per week. Pillar 3 self-invested personal pensions, savings, etc and/or property assets would accrue a match funding 5% fee per year (payable from any monies at death).

Put simply, the state pays, and the individual match funds/tops up from available income, and later on match funds at a given percentage from residual monies at death.

The devil’s in the detail of course, but the simplest methods as above might well be the best way to move things forward for the individual requiring care, the care providers, and the improvement of the care infrastructure itself.

Stephen Tingle
Greater Glasgow

WHY is the Tory government even thinking about raising National Insurance, or perhaps income tax, for the whole UK to pay for ENGLISH care? Either of these would be making folk in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland pay extra from their wages to pay for better care in England alone, as there is no mention of a related Barnett payment for devolved governments. Shades of the poll tax?

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There is another, obvious and much more lucrative way of raising the necessary funds. The UK is the only country, of the 20-plus countries in which BP and Shell operate, to have given a subsidy instead of taking tax. Every other country took tax as normal, and these companies have made no effort to move out as a result.

So why not collect current and back tax from them? Problem solved.

P Davidson

HERE we go again as Westminster Tories set the scene. A large sum of money is required for social care and health services. So let’s target pensioners and young people. The money could be gotten by greater taxation of pensioners, the same folk who have arguably the worst pensions in Europe courtesy of – you’ve guessed it – the Westminster government.

Or, a hike in National Insurance would do the trick. This would unfairly hit young people with lower income, many of whom are on minimum wage courtesy of – you’ve guessed it – Westminster government policy.

BUT, let’s not think of raising the necessary money by taxing the “OFFSHORE FUNDS” folk.

After all, we left the EU to prevent that from happening courtesy of – you’ve guessed it – the Westminster government.

Douglas Stanley

I COULDN’T agree more with KM Campbell in Saturday’s National. The playground behaviour of the rabble in Westminster has no place in Holyrood. I don’t even watch or listen to political news from down south any more – and, yes, it does seem to be mainly the Conservative party, though I fear that Labour may be attempting to fight like with like.

I despair for the parties who try to conduct themselves with dignity against this tide of juvenile delinquents. These people should be taught the basics of debate – to respect the others’ point of view even if disagreeing with it.

This thuggish and boorish behaviour does them no favours but they seem oblivious – perhaps they are deliberately trying to turn everyone off paying them any attention because they have nothing to contribute except their ignorance. Nothing to say at all – just farmyard sounds.

Priscilla Douglas