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More than four in five support increase in social care spending, survey finds


By Valeria Fiorer
Journalist intern
13 June 2018

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British people support an increase in social care spending, a survey of 1,000 individual has found.

The polling, which was commissioned to IPSOS Mori by NHS Confederation showed that more than four in five (82%) would support a 3.9% increase in social care spending. 

This increase is the minimum projected rise that will allow maintaining the present level of provision of care according to a report by the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) and the Health Foundation published last month.  

On the other hand, 77% of the respondents supported a 4% increase in healthcare spending, which is the minimum to meet future demand and make ‘modest improvements’, according to the IFS and the Health Foundation. 

The survey also found that 45% agree with increasing National Insurance and 42% agree with increasing income tax.  

Social care spending 

The IFS and Health Foundation report revealed that spending on adult social care has fallen since 2009/10 when local authorities faced sizeable cuts in funding from central government.  

This meant ‘over 400,000 fewer people accessed publicly funded social care in 2016/17 than in 2009/10’. 

NHS Confederation chief executive Niall Dickson said: ‘We were promised radical reform of social care but yet again nothing has been forthcoming.  

‘This has been an area of failure by successive governments which has let down millions of elderly and vulnerable people.’ 

new IFS briefing note published today found that adult social care spending per person in England was 9% lower in 2017-18 than 2009-10, with cuts tending to be larger in deprived areas with thirty councils with the highest levels of deprivation cutting adult social care funding by 17% per person.  

How do we pay for health 

Speaking at NHS Confed18, IFS director Paul Johnson said: ‘To reiterate the numbers, we are looking at needing an extra £3obn or so by the early 2020s, and more than £50bn by 2030s. 

He said that for the past 70 years ‘we managed to increase health spending without increasing total spending’ and managed to keep the tax spending constant. 

This was essentially done by abolishing defence spending among the others, suggested Mr Johnson. However, he believed that there is no scope in continuing to do that. 

He said: ‘In the short run, we could borrow more but that would be inconsistent with the Government’s manifesto to get the Budget balanced by the mid-2020s. But you cannot just borrow more and more every year as demand increases. In the end, you have to pay through tax.’  

In fact, he said that we are a ‘relatively low-tax country and even if we endorse Health Foundation director of research and economics Anita Charlesworth’s recommendations of a 4% increase in both health and social care spending, we would still be below most EU and G7 countries.  

He added that in the long run, we might want to increase one of the ‘big three taxes’ – income tax, national insurance and VAT – which ‘raise about two thirds of all tax revenue’. 

He concluded: ‘Getting an extra £30 or £40bn without doing something to one of those is pretty challenging.’  

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