The cost of care for the elderly is a financial problem which no government, coalition or otherwise, seems prepared to address.
One of the reasons that families don't personally care for their elders is that modern housing does not meet the accommodation requirements of the elderly and their family living together.
The alternative to caring for grandparents in their own home is often not a workable option as the extended family is spread over many miles and caring for elders in their own home on a daily basis is not feasible.
However, if their home had a granny flat, many families would have the real option of providing care for their parents or grandparents.
A huge chunk of the looming care cost would disappear at a stroke and our elders would be looked after by people they know and love.
The Government could encourage families to make the investment in extending or converting their homes using simple no-cost incentives. Construction work to provide granny flats should be VAT-free like all new-builds and excluded from rates calculation even if not currently occupied as this is an investment provision.
Planning permission should be automatic unless there is extremely good reason not to grant it. The increased value of the home as a result of the granny flat should be excluded from any stamp duty.
Loan funding should present little problem as there is likely to be considerable equity in the grandparents' home and fiscal provision should be made to allow family loans for the purpose of granny flats to be inheritance tax free.
This proposal will not solve our elderly care and recession problems but would encourage families to invest their capital into meaningful solutions instead of gaining very little interest or being left tied up in equity in a home waiting to be consumed by care bills.
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