A joint report by the Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee and the Health and Social Care Committee has called for “a sustainable funding solution for adult social care”.
Their solution: either an additional element of National Insurance, or an increase of National Insurance with the premium paid into a ringfenced social insurance fund that people would only be used for social care.
The joint report states that intergenerational fairness would be achieved by making only those aged over 40 liable to pay it, and it would only be used by those over the age of 65.
Currently, only the poorest get any help with social care. One in ten will face lifetime costs of over £100,000.
Potential for age discrimination?
Writing in the Independent, Caitlin Morrison argues that this new tax could harm the opportunities for older workers. She suggests that, if the tax is payable by the employer, it would create a price differential that would make “younger” (i.e. those under 40 years old) workers more attractive. If it were payable by the workers themselves, then they would simply demand higher pay in order to compensate them for the increased tax burden. Either way, it risks creating a new divide between younger or older workers, Morrison argues.
But the proposals have been welcomed by others. By comparison, Caroline Abrahams of Age UK supports the new proposals. She said that increased tax is a "bitter pill, it just might be one worth swallowing - but only for a system that we can all rely on."