All our politicians now claim to oppose the “dementia tax”.
This is the policy that means people unlucky enough to need long-term social care are forced to sell their home to pay for it.
Why, then, have none of the major parties so far come up with a plan to scrap it – and replace it with something else?
The phrase dementia tax was coined after the Conservative general election manifesto in May included plans to extend it to people receiving social care at home.
Social care is means tested, so that people who have assets of £23,250 or more are expected to pay for it.
Those assets could include savings, investments, shares, premium bonds or a business.
There’s good news for people receiving social care in their own home. Their home isn’t included in the means test.
This means people receiving social care at home can rest assured that they’re not going to be forced to sell their property to pay for it.
In a surprising announcement during the election campaign – which may have cost many votes – Conservatives said they wanted to include houses in the means test.
In practice, this would have forced some people to sell their property.
The policy was condemned by Labour . Party leader Jeremy Corbyn criticised the Tories for “slapping a dementia tax on those who need social care by making them pay for it with their homes”,
Conservative leader Theresa May announced a partial U-turn during the campaign, and eventually ditched the policy entirely following the general election.
But people were paying the dementia tax long before the general election campaign, even if it didn’t have the name.
If you receive long-term care in a residential setting, as many do, then you are also means tested to decide whether you have to pay – but your property is included in the means test.
In other words, if you have assets of £23,250 or more - including the value of your home - then you have to pay.
So if you are a home owner then you almost certainly have to pay. After all, there aren't many properties worth less than £23,250.
And if your home is your only major asset - in other words, if you own a home but don't have £23,250 in cash sitting in the bank, or invested in shares or premium bonds - then you’ll have to sell your property.
Where else would you find the money?
Our politicians seem to agree that the dementia tax is a terrible thing for people cared for in their own home. Surely, then, it must also be a terrible thing for people receiving residential care.
But it seems the politicians have forgotten about it.
There’s no hint of a plan, from any of the parties, to abolish the dementia tax.
Surely it’s time they came up with one?