Carer who spent £65,000 refitting home after husband’s stroke criticises social reform plans

A carer who spent £65,000 refitting their home after her husband’s stroke has claimed that people are being “grossly deceived” by the Government’s social care reform plans.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a new UK-wide 1.25% health and social care levy based on National Insurance contributions which will raise £12 billion a year to reform the social care system in England.

Marie Stinson, 71, from Keighley, West Yorkshire, had to leave retirement to become a full-time carer for her husband, Peter McNiell, 83, after he suffered a stroke in November 2016, and subsequently spent £65,000 refitting their home.

Ms Stinson has criticised the reform plans, saying they do not offer help to those in residential care and said that increasing National Insurance will negatively affect the poorest in society.

She said: “People are being grossly deceived because it goes to the health service first, not the social care, so it is not as he promised, which was resolving the problems with social care.

“This is simply a plan to ensure that people, primarily in the South and the South East, will retain more of their capital assets than they otherwise would.

“And so, it is asking younger and poorer people to pay, whilst richer people will retain more of their assets.”

Mr McNiell was given eight weeks of social care support after his discharge from hospital, but the family did not pay for carers after this and used their money to make their home more accessible.

They installed a walk-in shower, an internal stairlift, converted their top lawn into decking and lowered their bay windows to become double doors so that Mr McNiell could use his scooter to go outside.

The most expensive alteration was an external stairlift, which cost £18,000 and allowed Mr McNiell to travel the 30 yards from his home to the road which was impossible before this.

Mr McNiell recently suffered a fall and broke his hip, so was given local authority carers for eight weeks.

Ms Stinson now has arthritis of the spine so can no longer care for her husband full-time so the family does now pay for carers.

Meanwhile, a woman who has cared for her elderly mother for over a decade said the Government’s new cap of £86,000 on lifetime care costs from October 2023 will not come soon enough to help her.

“What Boris (Johnson) has announced will probably not help me as my mum would (have) probably passed away by 2023 and my situation will not change,” Sharon Firth, from Stockport, told the PA news agency.

The 45-year-old (pictured, left) gave up her job in 2017 to care full-time for her mother Julia, 77, who has Alzheimer’s and has also suffered with breast and lung cancer.

Ms Firth said her mother (pictured, right)  is now ready to move into a care home, but to pay for it she will lose her house.

She added that she may also need to take out a high-interest loan, which she could still be paying back some time after her mother has died.

“So I’ll be looking at being homeless and grieving for my mum at the same time,” Ms Firth said.

Copyright (c) PA Media Ltd. 2021, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) Family Handout / PA.