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When is a pension not a pension?

Our Blog - for News and Views on Elder Care

Imagine a world where you have worked all your life, perhaps brought up a family, diligently paid your national insurance contirubtions and just as you reach for your slippers and newspaper up pops some publicity-seeking Peer with a grand new scheme. That pension pot at the end of the rainbow is only to be paid to the "younger" old in exchange for a compact to provide support for the "older" old.

No matter that you  might have lined up a nice little part-time earner to keep the money flowing in and, oh, of course, to fit around taking your grandchildren to and from school. This is where Big Society meets Welfare to Work.

Still maybe this "you get the benefit if you help others" idea will catch on. Child benefit could be made conditional on kids walking their neighbour's dog - even maybe clearing up its poop. And as they get older they could move on to running after school clubs for younger kids. Why stop with benefits? There's nothing to stop it applying to plans to tax the rich. Instead of Nick Clegg's mansion tax, why not just say that everyone in a big country pile has to offer short weekend breaks to the homeless?

Or maybe, just maybe, we should just imagine a world where the government has a serious plan for social care for the elderly and a sensible vision of how it is to be provided and funded. Or is that taking fantasy too far?