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Blair Responds To Continuing Care


We were the instigators of the Sunday Express Crusade ‘JUSTICE FOR OUR ELDERLY’. Below is a transcript of Blair's letter in response to the 20,000 letters sent to the Sunday Express.

Comment on Blair's letter by Lord Bruce Lockhart (Chairman of the Local Government Association) 'PM not only misleading but wrong'.

10 Downing Street.

Dear Sunday Express Readers,

Thank you for your petition over the cost of care for the elderly. Let me start by saying I fully agree that we as a society owe the older generation a huge debt. It is why this government is spending £10billion more in real terms on the elderly than in 1997. We have more to do but I am proud that we have helped lift hundreds of thousands of pensioners out of poverty.
I also accept there has been much confusion over the cost of residential care. It is a complex area and much of the confusion rests on the different elements of these costs, in particular the difference between medical, nursing care and personal and social care.
This government has tries hard to make fairer the complicated system we inherited.
Medical care - diagnosis and treatment form doctors - has been free at the point of delivery for all patients whether old or young, ever since the creation of the National Health Service. Nursing care, however, has not.
When this government came to power was that older patients in hospital received free nursing care while many residents in care homes did not. Nursing care costs were only met for them by their local authority after means testing.
This was unfair and we changed it. Since 2003, the costs of all nursing care, including those in residential homes, have been met by the NHS.
This leaves personal care, which for instance would cover washing, dressing and the cooking of meals and the cost of accommodation. This has never been provided free fro everyone - those who can afford to pay towards the cost have always been asked to do so. In fact the National assistance Act 1948 sets out the framework within which Local Authorities decide what people can contribute towards the cost of their care, based on assets and income. This includes any property they own.
The present position is that assets below £12,750 are ignored in calculations on payment towards personal care while those with assets of between £12,750 and £21,000 will be asked to make a contribution. Anyone with assets above £21,000 will pay all the non-nursing costs of their care.
In some cases, this has led to the sale of homes to meet these costs. However the government accepted that being forced to sell a family home, even if empty, was likely to cause distress to older people so we have introduced the deferred payment scheme, under which Councils can now meet this cost and claim the money back from the estate when the house is eventually sold.
According to independent social care analysts, two-thirds of the total cost of residential care is funded by Local Council Social Services or NHS-funded nursing care.
I know that there are some people who believe that the entire cost of residential care for all older residents should be met by the taxpayer. But while those who stand to inherit their parents' home or assets, for example, would benefit, the tax payer as a whole would have to find an extra £1,500 million a year - a bill which, with an increasingly ageing population, will only rise. The money would also have to be found without providing a single extra service for the older generation or improving the quality of existing services.

Thank you again for letting me know your views.

Yours sincerely,

Tony Blair.


19 March 2007 We received a petition asking: "We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to provide 'free' health and social care for older people." Details of petition: "The North East Pensioners Association are calling for the government to put an end to older people having to sell their homes to pay for care in later life when they have contributed via national insurance and income tax all of their lives."


The Government values the contribution that older people have made and continue to make to our society, and recognises the efforts older people have made to prepare for their old age through pension provision, through savings and through investment in their homes. However, charging for residential accommodation is not new. Since the introduction of the 1948 National Assistance Act people have had to contribute towards the cost of their care, and capital assets have always been taken into account. Under the current assessment rules, all forms of capital, including a person's former home, will be looked at when deciding how much capital a resident has. However, the local council must ignore the value of the property where it continues to be occupied by the resident's spouse or partner, another relative who is over 60 or incapacitated, or the parent resident of a child under 16 whom he/she is liable to maintain. Property is now disregarded from the means test for residential accommodation for the first 12 weeks of a permanent move into a care home. This change took effect from April 2001, and has three direct benefits. It provides breathing space between entering a care home and having to sell the family home to pay for care; it gives time for residents to assess the move into a care home; and it means savings on care home costs for residents. From 10 April 2006, under the local authority charging rules no account is taken of capital below £12,750. For capital of between £12,750 and £21,000, an income of £1 a week is assumed for each complete £250, or part of £250, held. A person with capital over £21,000 is expected to pay the full charge for their accommodation. As soon as the person's capital reduces to £21,000 they should contact the social services department and ask for an assessment or reassessment, as they may then be entitled to financial support. Once a person has been assessed as needing residential or nursing care, it is the responsibility of the local authority to find a suitable placement. The local authority will either provide a place in one of their own homes or contract with an independent sector home owner. In these circumstances the local authority is responsible for meeting the contracted cost of the home in full and will recover from the resident such amount as the resident can afford to pay according to their means. It is not the responsibility of the person concerned or their family to find a place. However, where a resident wishes to enter residential accommodation which is more expensive than the authority would normally pay for the level of care provided, they may do so if someone else, such as a relative or friend of the resident, agrees to make up the difference. A resident may also top-up from their own resources if they and the local authority have made a deferred payments agreement or the resident is subject to the 12-week property disregard. These rules do not mean that local authorities can set arbitrary ceilings on the amount that they will pay. The local authority cannot simply say that it will only pay a certain amount, without being able to show where it could arrange a place at the price which also suits a person's assessed needs. If, for example, a resident believes they have particular needs which would not be met in the accommodation offered, they, or someone acting on their behalf, may wish to use the complaints procedure to argue that the local authority should pay more than its normal level to meet these needs. The Government has also provided councils with a special grant to enable them to place charges on people's homes as an alternative means of contributing to their care costs. The charge can remain in place until the property is sold or the resident dies. If the resident or their family decide they wish to repay the charge earlier, they will be able to do so. This is known as the deferred payments scheme. A charge on their property gives residents another option for paying for their care. In addition, families will be able to explore options other than the sale of the home in order to repay the debt accrued. The deferred payments scheme, along with the introduction of the 12-week disregard, will help alleviate the concern, uncertainty and distress which many families face when their loved ones go into care. People should no longer feel pressured into hasty home sales, as these policies will give residents, carers and families more time to decide how to deal with a property and make the necessary arrangements should they decide they wish to sell their home.

Don't Forget the current Petition http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/Continuing-Care/

Kind Regards,

Stephen (Johnson).


Registered User
Nov 7, 2004
Mr Blair continues to trot out the same old rhetoric. Those of us who have relations who are dying from Alzheimer’s disease ARE taxpayers who have paid for their health care through their taxes. I find it deeply offensive to be continually told by Mr Blair that mum has to pay for her own health care because an uncaring Government wishes to spend £1,500 million on other causes. As for the so called deferred payment scheme which allows people to keep the family house until the owner dies. This is simply so that the yearly increase in house prices will fund a longer period in the nursing home for the ill person until the money runs out and Social Services have to pick up the bill.
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Registered User
Feb 17, 2006
I make no comment on the £1,500 they do not want to spend on the elderly a year that has contributed to so many wasted wars out of the tax payer money that belong to the elderly that was not even a chosse to vote in how they money was spent in the first place , so the government should stop and think , before saying that money from the tax payers have to fund the care for the elderly instead of selling they home .When they feel that they have a right to dictate to us how they spend are hard working money tax money

Oh well I did make a comment

The government have to mush power over are Tax national insurance money , put it to the vote of the people in how they would want they future money spent on the care of the elderly when they go into care home , give us a choose if we the people want to pay £1, 500 a year out of tax money , so we don't have to sell our home that our love one have work so hard for , National vote is what we need for this issue , Are we always going to be dictated to by government or do we the people of united kingdom unite as one and stand up and be counted for on this issue , if we do not sort out and unite , ask for a vote on this issue then in this generation we never shall.


If one is lucky to have been born in to wealth inherited millions , billons , why brother to vote is does not effect one , but it does they to have pay tax, national insurance over the odds also . this effects all of us , right down to the common man who thought hard work would pay in the future for they next generation , littlie did they know that the government they trusted use they money in the way , that better themselves

Ok shall get of my soap box , because if I was in high park corner , I may get Arrested, government don’t want people like me around to enlighted people , people like me just get suppressed by government for speaking they minds
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Registered User
Sep 26, 2005
east sussex
Well said

Dear Margarita.
Please do NOT GET OFF YOUR SOAP BOX. I find you speak a lot of sense and most of us on this site will agree with what you have said.

Cynron x x


Registered User
Jul 28, 2005
south london
Funding is always going to be an issue. Modern politics is going away from the state paying for things and towards "choice" I.E low taxation with only the minimum possible provided by the Government.

I personally would be happy to pay higher taxes to have a higher level of services, pensions etc., I remember when income tax was 30%+.

I don't think any political party would get elected if they went into an election saying basic rate tax was going up by 5% (a random figure).

Think the way people complain when they get caught speeding and they hace to pay a fine (speeding kills people).

There seems to be a list of untouchable causes where due to lobbying money just has to be spent (breast cancer for instance). These have got public sympathy, the number of programs I have seen where somebody has been denied cancer drugs and then due to media attention has the decision reversed with some other poor sole presumably missing out on heart operation etc to pay for the drugs.

Alzheimers care funding is not a fashionable cause, treatment of any mental disorder has been passed back to the community. Care homes are run for profit by individuals who charge what they can get away with. They will charge people who can afford to pay over the odds to sunsidise council patients.

These are not the careing days of the sixties or seventies, when you had Leaders like Heath or Wilson both of whom would probably be thought of as Left Wingers these days.

We are living in post Thatcher Britain, the gap between Haves and have nots is getting wider and politicians do not think it their job to do anything about it.


Registered User
Feb 17, 2006
We are living in post Thatcher Britain, the gap between Haves and have nots is getting wider and politicians do not think it their job to do anything about it.
because we the people are standing back and leting them do it .

Yes and now Mrs. Thatcher has dementia, line her pocket with our money and now has a choose of care home or not and we still look back where we think it all went wrong .

She encourage Many of the have not’s to buy they property, to have them reprocess when interest rates went sky high , yes they new how to put the have not in they place

So it seem that people would not find it fashionable to fund the elderly care home or treatment for cancer , do people with cancer also have to sell they home to fund they care in hospice ? I wonder I suppose they life expectancy is not as costly as someone that has dementia, so they would fund it all.

That the issue really with cancer and dementia money and end of life, you never know when someone with dementia AZ is going to die, so government don’t want to fund it, society as a whole put it at the end of they priority until in the future it happen to them, so government and the people of untied kingdom have more sympathy for cancer patient end of life so don't ask Question about how they fund the care for hospice , but not end of life for for a person with dementia and then does sympathy come in to it in the first place , just funding , money and how best to spend it .

, treatment of any mental disorder has been passed back to the community ok then

Not really if you think of it ! as with mental illness (not including dementia / AZ ) it never has come in to question about funding money for treatment for them , but yes for Dementia/AZ that is class a mental illness by us the people of UK , but now the goverment are truning it around and saying its not a mental ilness , But still don't won't to fund end of life in care home .

what they have done is yes close down daycenter for the mental ill and put it back in to the community , that have to fund raise so how truning it into a charity .

Stop paying all our tax money that we pay on cigarettes to fund the NHS, tax to fund wars nuclear arms and put it in to the pot for funding people in care home and the community, Put all that money back in to the community for the mentally ill,
(If you class dementia as that )
strange that in this day and age, so much research into understanding dementia we still view dementia as a mental illness, no wonder its view as not fashionable .

You can fool some of the people some of the time, but you can’t fool all the people, at all the time is what I would say to any government
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Grannie G

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 3, 2006
Dear Margarita, I think you should go to Hyde Park Corner and get your message to a wider audience. You have the energy I used to have, but I am now defeated by everything to do with politics.


Registered User
Feb 17, 2006
but I am now defeated by everything to do with politics.
Yes that’s how they want use to feel, so we don’t get out they and vote for what we want in care for Dementia I was doing a search to find out where our tax duty money is really spent on and break down on it, for the life of me could not find it, no matter how I worded it.

And if the government really wind me up , I shall put that energy into something contractive I shall study politic and economics at the open university with all the time I have on my hands , and became a politician , what did Martin Luther King say . I have a vision, so do I

I am sorry to say that I do not believe in the petition that is run on the government sites, I do sigh them , but feel that the government is just humouring us the people .


Registered User
Nov 7, 2004
Hi Margarita

I think you have some very good ideas. I do hope you have regular meetings with your MP. We need people like you to sort them out. Most people "never have time" to talk to MPs at their weekly surgeries, and so they get away with their silly policys thinking that no one cares. And those few people who do talk to their MP never go back to have a second go when their MP does not do what they suggested they would. (MPs are so clever at saying one thing and meaning something else ! ).

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