Taxpayers aged over 40 should pay a new ‘social care premium’ to fund care costs, two parliamentary committees have said.
The Housing, Communities and Local Government and Health and Social Care Committees' joint report calls for an increase in national insurance or a specific ring-fenced premium to pay for social care.
This premium would be paid for by taxpayers aged over 40s only, as well as by employers.
The committees say that the growing demand for adult social care means reform of the current system is critical. The report slams the current situation as “not fit to respond to the demographic trends of the future” and under “very great and unsustainable strain”.
The government is set to deliver a green paper on this issue in the autumn. It is estimated that in the next financial year there will be a £2.5 billion funding gap for social care.
Clive Betts MP, chair of the Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee, comments: "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 pressure 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.
“We heard during the inquiry that people would be willing to pay more if there was an absolute guarantee that the extra money would go on social care. Given the huge funding gulf, the government should now take the opportunity to build both a political and public consensus around the need for a new social care premium to secure a fair and sustainable system in the long-term.
“The government must also consider social care in its wider context and ensure a proper joined up approach with other services such as public health and housing."
‘Doing nothing cannot be an option’
Sarah Wollaston MP, chair of the Health and Social Care Committee, adds: "We can no longer delay finding a fair and sustainable settlement for social care. Too many people are being left without the care and support they need and it is time for decisions to be made about how the costs are shared.
“This report from MPs across the political spectrum also draws on the informed views of a Citizens’ Assembly in setting out our recommendations to government. Doing nothing cannot be an option."