We had a ‘Dragon’s Den’ innovation project at Reading last week. I don’t think any of the numerous ideas were focussed on the very topical (personally and nationally) issue of social care for the elderly. Obviously it’s a complex problem raising all sorts of thorny issue about the distinction between health and social care, the responsibilities of the individual, the family and the state, the public expenditure choices that need to be made and so on. It looks like it will get worse. Whilst there’s also discussion about how to incentivise the politically powerful grey vote to downsize their housing consumption, there’s seems to have been remarkably little innovation in the area. However, one striking fact about the over 60s is that, according to Demos, in England they own over c£1.3 trillion in unmortgaged housing wealth that there is very little political will to tax either through Council Tax or Inheritance Tax. I also suspect that a large proportion of it is in the hands on the elderly population who are not in need of substantial social/health care. But it’s still likely to be a lot of money.
I don’t have an answer immediately to hand but surely it isn’t beyond the wit of man (or woman) to find some type of ‘equity release’ type product that can help to liquidate some of that housing wealth. Even a relatively small fraction could make a huge difference to an underfunded sector.