A TORY parliamentary candidate expressed her support for the party’s controversial ‘dementia tax’ despite admitting it was ‘controversial’ during an election hustings last night.
Penny Mordaunt, Conservative candidate for Portsmouth North publicly backed the plans for changes to social care funding that would see pensioners pay for care they receive in their own homes.
It is right that we put this proposal forward. We have to put it forward as the current policy is inadequatePenny Mordaunt, MP candidate for Portsmouth South
Pensioners’ homes would then be sold to pay for their bills following their deaths.
When quizzed on the topic at a Portsmouth North hustings debate at St John’s College in Southsea, Ms Mordaunt expressed her satisfaction with the plans.
She said: ‘I understand that is a controversial policy and I know that people have not been very happy with it.
‘But it is right that we put this proposal forward.
‘We have to put it forward as the current policy is inadequate.’
The tax was included in the party’s manifesto and sparked criticism
Under the Tory manifesto, the elderly must pay for their own care if they have combined savings and property worth more than £100,000.
Under the proposal people would have to sell their homes to pay.
If they wish to keep their home, payment can be deferred until after they die when it will be deducted from their estate.
The reforms have been dubbed a ‘dementia tax’ because people with dementia living at home would be forced to pay while people with cancer in hospital would not.
Ms Mordaunt explained that with the current situation, people’s assets are protected up to £23,500 and that the rhetoric that it is a tax on those with dementia is ‘grossly false.’
She said: ‘By capping care costs people will be able to better protect their assets, no one will have to sell their home and the injection of funds will help us build the quality of care we would all want for our loved ones.’
Councillor Darren Sanders, the LIberal Democrat candidate for the seat, said it was a ‘poorly thought-out policy’ and called for cross-party cohesion on the matter.
Labour candidate Rumal Khan said the policy was ‘very worrying’ and Ukip candidate Mike Fitzgerald said adult social care had grown as a problem due to an increasingly elderly population.
Education funding was also raised during the debate in which Mr Khan praised the role of teachers.
He said: ‘They need to have more support. I remain grateful to all my teachers did for me and we have to give them support.’
Cllr Sanders agreed with Mr Khan, pointing to the power of ‘good teachers’ and called to oppose plans for more grammar schools.
Ms Mordaunt highlighted improvements in education across the city in response, such as the building of UTC Portsmouth and stated that schools across the city would benefit from a cash boost of £1m under the proposed funding formula.
Mr Fitzgerald called for more funds for schools but state he was not opposed to grammar schools and said good schools were being ‘attacked’.
He said: ‘Why are we attacking schools are that doing well?
‘We must not allow more cuts, it will only make the funding situation even worse.’