'Unfair system will punish savers'
NOTTS campaigners have reacted with disappointment to the news that elderly people could have to pay up to £75,000 towards their care.
The cap is more than double the £35,000 recommended by an independent inquiry.
The Government yesterday announced that pensioners with assets of £123,000 or more would be liable for costs of their care up to the cap amount.
People with assets less than this will be means-tested – a way of working out how much support they are entitled to receive towards care.
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Previously the asset cap was set at £23,250 and the Government says the change, which comes into effect in April 2017, is aimed at ensuring fewer people will have to sell their home to pay for care.
At present, up to 40,000 people every year are forced into selling their homes because they face unlimited care bills
But the chairman of the Nottingham Elders Forum, Dennis Andrews, said some people would still find themselves in that position.
"People will have to pay up to £75,000 of their care costs outside of their board and lodging costs," he said.
"Those who've been prudent are getting penalised. People who bought their house made financial sacrifices to do so.
"We're back in the position of those who can pay will and those that haven't been prudent won't. Where's the equality in that?
The 88-year-old added: "We're talking about the health of a nation. What we are saying is it needs to be free at the point of requirement."
David Jones is secretary of the Nottingham Pensioners' Action Group.
The 76-year-old said: "A lot of members think it's unfair. Pensioners who have saved get punished. The generation who saved will get punished."
He added: "The Nottingham Pensioners' Action Group take the position that what is needed is a care service in the line of the health service that is free."
Announcing the news, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt defended the move, saying the asset cap would help protect people's homes.
"The point of what we are doing is to protect people's inheritance. The worst thing that can happen is at the most vulnerable moment in your life you lose the thing you worked hard for, that you saved for, your own house," he said.
Speaking on BBC1's Andrew Marr Show on Sunday he added: "Finances are very much constrained at the moment and the fact we are finding what might be as much as £1 billion a year to do this shows we want to help those hard-working people who have saved all their life and suddenly find that their house is at risk."