“I don’t want to sell my house to pay for my care because I want to leave it to my grandchildren.”

As an assistant director of social services I frequently heard of an elderly person living alone who was struggling to cope but who didn’t want to go into a home once they realised they would have to pay for it.

Even more disturbing was the number of times we came across a son or daughter who was determined not to see their inheritance spent on their parents’ care. When you work in social services you are often exposed to the unpleasant side of human nature - greed, cruelty and indifference.

But why should the taxpayer pay for the care of someone who has a quarter of a million in the bank, or the equivalent in capital resources? With the average house price, even in the current depressed market, worth over a £100,000 why should the individual not be expected to use their resources to pay for their care? If someone has savings or an occupational pension why should they not be expected to contribute to the cost of providing help in their own home?

I thought the whole idea of contributing to a works pension and paying off your mortgage was to provide for your old age. So when old age comes why are people so reluctant to spend their savings? The blunt answer is people just don’t like the idea of having to pay for something that other people who have not saved get free. Another comment on human nature!

So the answer is everyone needs to be required through a compulsory scheme to make provision for their old age. Otherwise, the pressure on taxpayer money will grow, as will the value of the assets belonging to the people who don’t want to pay for care out of their own pocket.