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A group of MPs have called for adults over the age of 40 to pay a new tax to sustainably fund adult social care.
The Housing, Communities and Local Government and Health and Social Care Committees issued a join report today calling for the introduction of a social care premium. The tax would be paid only by adults over 40 to ensure ‘fairness between generation’.
The report, Long term funding of social care, comes after the Government announced last week that it will delay the publication of a green paper on adult social care, initially due this summer, until autumn.
The Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee chair Clive Betts said: ‘The social care system is in a critical condition and there is an urgent need for more funding both now and in the future to ensure people are properly looked after.
‘While we have set out steps to ease the financial pressures on local authorities delivering the service, reforms at a local level will not be enough if we are to rise to the challenge of providing high-quality care for all those that need it.’
The MPs said that the earmarked contribution could be ‘an additional element of National Insurance or with the premium paid into dedicated not-for-profit social insurance fund’.
They added that personal aspects of social care, including help with washing, dressing and eating, should be free for everyone who needs assistance with this – starting with those deemed to have ‘critical’ needs – while accommodation costs should continue to be means-tested.
Earlier this month, former health ministers Lord Ara Darzi and Lord David Prior called for social care to be free at the point of use for adults in England.
Last year, the King’s Fund warned that social care will be facing a funding gap of £2.5bn by 2019/20, putting more pressures on a sector already on the ‘brink of crisis’.
According to the Health Foundation, around 400,000 fewer adults benefited from social care services in 2013/14 than in 2009/10 due to local authorities prioritising funding for people with the ‘most severe care needs’.
Commenting on the report, Association of Directors of Adult Social Services president Glen Garrod said: ‘ […] The pressing need for a funding solution for adult social care has been thrown into sharp relief after the recent announcements to find an additional £20bn for the NHS.
‘Without a solution for social care we have an incoherent national strategy for meeting people’s increasingly complex needs and this is the equivalent of pouring water down the sink with the plug removed.’