A Tale of Two Wee Grannies.

Mavis was married to Bert and they had two children and three grandchildren.

Bert died a few years back and Mavis lived on in the family home, a nice little three-bedroom semi in Surrey, just outside London.

Irene was married to Ted.

They had two children and three grandchildren too.

Ted also died a while ago, bequeathing Irene his pension and their three-bedroom semi in Hull, in the north-east of England.

A few years after their husbands died, Mavis and Irene both suffered from bad strokes and neither of them was able to look after themselves any more.

They had to be taken into care.

Because Mavis and Bert had bought their house back in the 1970s, for just £12,000, there was no mortgage left on it. And because it was within an hour of London, it was now worth £700,000.

Irene and Ted bought their ex-council house in the 1980s, under Thatcher’s right-to-buy scheme. It had only cost them £6000.

They had long paid off their mortgage too and their property was now worth just over £100,000.

Mavis and Irene both spent the last two years of their lives in care homes and passed away around the same time.

So far, two very similar families having very similar life experiences at opposite ends of England. Then it all changed.

Mavis’s care in the home had cost £860 a week.

So it took around two years for her to hit the £86,000 cap mandated in the Government’s new Health and Social Care bill.

She also had to pay an additional £250 a week towards living costs like rent, food and utilities.

This meant bills of another £1000 a month, or £24,000 for the last two years of her life.

Mavis’s total care bill at the time of her death eventually came to £110,000.

Amazingly, this was the same total for Irene, who died the same week as Mavis.

Even after the cost of her care, when Mavis’s family home was sold, she was able to leave her children nearly £300,000 each.

In turn, her children passed most of this on to their children, Mavis’s grandchildren, giving them enough money towards the deposits they needed to buy flats of their own within a short commute of London.

Up north, a few hours up the eastern coast, things weren’t quite so rosy.

Irene’s care had cost every penny of the equity in her house.

But there was a bright spot – the final £20,000 of her money was government protected!

Once the funeral costs had all been covered, Irene’s children were left with around £7500 each.

One of them bought a second-hand car. The other took the family on a nice holiday to Florida.

Both grannies had worked hard and played by the rules.

Because of a geographical quirk of birthplace, one set of grandchildren were able to continue a cycle of wealth and property owning.

The others? Not so much.

However, there was one other similarity between Mavis and Irene…

Mavis had voted Conservative all her life because that was what you did in Surrey. Irene had been a Labour voter when she was a young girl because that was what you did in the north.

But, as Ted had explained to her before he died, “at the end of the day”, it was “that Mrs Thatcher” who made it possible for them to own their own home.

To have a real asset to leave to their children and their grandchildren.

So that they could have a better start in life than they’d had.

Because that was what it was all about, really, wasn’t it?

It took Irene a while – she’d quite liked that Tony Blair and everything – but eventually, because of all the immigration and the EU red tape and that awful Jeremy Corbyn and everything else, she started voting Conservative too.

Just like Mavis had always done, a few hundred miles to the south of her.

But it wasn’t the immigrants who took away the tiny bit of inheritance she’d hoped to leave her family.

It wasn’t the EU or Jeremy Corbyn either.

It was the very people who she voted for.

Poor Irene.