FOI request (FOI-94268499)
Assisted Living for Old Aged Pensioners
Requested Sat 03 November 2018
Responded Tue 13 November 2018
We ask whether you hold information as to how many blocks of flats (or the like) there are within the Hastings District that specialise in the provision of Assisted Living for Old Aged Pensioners. If so, could you please let us have a list of them and, if possible, the total number of individual flats within those blocks and, again if possible, the number of individual persons occupying them. Furthermore, again if possible, how many of those residents receive Care.
We ask for this information in order to be best informed as to how many residents there are such as ourselves, currently living independently, or semi-independently, in Assisted Living Accommodation in our local community, that will be effected by a recent draconian change in policy by HMRC (as described below). A hugely unkind and unfair change we wish to raise with the Chancellor of the Exchequer with the aid of our five local Members of Parliament: Huw Merriman, Nus Ghani, Maria Caulfield, and Amber Rudd.
Up until the 1st November 2018, an HMRC Extra Statutory Concession (ESC 3.18 VAT) had released Residents of all blocks of flats from having to pay VAT on the wages of staff employed on their behalf as Caretakers and Cleaners and most importantly, in our case (being Assisted Living accommodation for Old-aged Pensioners) the wages of the Estate Managers and Night Managers, of whom at least one is required on site 24 hour-a-day to deal with any emergencies that might arise involving the property itself or the residents.
We have no idea what motivated HMRC to suddenly withdraw a concession that had been in force for at least 24 years and in all probability, albeit in a different format, ever since VAT was introduced in 1973. It appears to have been for technical reasons well beyond our understanding. We can only believe we have been caught up in a net intended to catch others who have been over benefiting from the concession such as the many luxurious fully-serviced multi-staffed blocks of flats built in London and earmarked for the super rich. Most bizarrely, however, it seems many of these sites will continue to enjoy a concession withdrawn from us. It has come as an absolute bombshell to us, now being forced to pay VAT since Thursday having only learning we'd have to do so a week before. Here at Risingholme Court the 20% VAT will cost we residents an unaffordable sum of between £700 and £900 a year.
There is no doubt that residents of Assisted Living accommodation for Old-aged Pensioners have been singled out for the worst suffering. On the one side, residents of a standard block of flats will hardly be effected as their blocks tend not to have 24 hour Caretaker/ Manager cover (instead normally an hour or two a day, Mondays to Fridays if at all) so their wage bill per resident will be relatively low (and VAT thereon even lower) whilst, at the other end, residents of Care Homes will be totally unaffected in spite of having even more staff than Assisted Living because another concession allows Care homes to reclaim all the VAT they would otherwise suffer. The Care Home concession is not available to Assisted Living in spite of the fact that a large number of Assisted Living residents receive care either privately or from the Local Authority and would qualify to be a resident of a Local Authority Care Home if they so wished although then only if a vacancy actually existed.
We cannot believe that HMRC had specifically set out to target us and our fellow Old Aged Pensioners who are fiercely trying to fend for ourselves so as not to become a burden on the already stretched funds of the State or Local Authority but this withdrawal of concession will achieve precisely that by crippling the finances of some 50% of Residents here at Risingholme Court, average age well over 85years. In all likelihood it may force some 40% of the 50 or so who currently reside here out of independent living and into public care.
There will be no winners. The Residents who remain will lose an unaffordable sum of between £700 and £900 a year - in many instances representing some 10% of their annual pension. The Residents who leave will lose their independence and the State or Local Authority will have to pick up the cost of their care (a cost to the State or Local Authorities that will hugely outweigh the £700-£900 pa extra income that HMRC might gain).
It is for this reason we hope to discover how many residents such as ourselves, currently living independently, or semi-independently, in Assisted Living Accommodation in our local community, will be effected by this draconian change in policy by HMRC.
Information not held
This area is dealt with by East Sussex County Council Social Services, please visit their website for further information: www.eastsussex.gov.uk
Freedom of Information