The Guardian has reported over-40s would have to pay more tax or national insurance, or would have to insure themselves against costly bills for care when they are older. This additional money would then be used to pay for the help elderly people need when trying to care for themselves. Boris Johnson’s new health and social care taskforce and the Department of Health and Social Care are looking over the proposals.
Sources told the newspaper the principle is quickly becoming the Government answer for fulfilling Mr Johnson’s promise to “fix the crisis in social care once and for all”.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock is said to be a keen supporter of the plan and according to The Guardian, has been praising it in talks that have resumed about the Government’s proposals to radically overhaul the struggling social care system.
But the newspaper has also claimed the Treasury is unsure about introducing a system that would see people over the age of 40 contributing into a central pot to solve the social care crisis.
The same source said: “There are vast differences of opinion within Government about this.”
They added the proposed move could further frustrate people who will have paid or are still paying off their student loans, as well as those having a mortgage to pay and costs associated with bringing up children.
But Caroline Abrahams, the charity director at Age UK, has backed the move, and said: “Some older people may look askance at the idea of only the over-40s paying to fund a new national care system.
“However, if that’s what our Government is considering embracing here than it may be rather a good deal, since that system offers a level of provision and reassurance that we can only dream of here at the moment.”
Former Liberal Democrat MP Paul Burstow, who was also Social Care Minister in the Conservative coalition Government from 2010-12 and is now chair of the Social Care Institute for Excellence, added: “Introducing an insurance contribution from the over-40s would help put social care on a firm footing for the future.
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He told BBC One’s The Andrew Marr Show on 5 July to mark the 72nd anniversary of the NHS: “I would hope that by the time we are sitting down this time next year, on the 73rd birthday of the NHS, we have actually, as a country, been able to decisively answer the question of how we are going to fund and provide high-quality social care for my parents’ generation.”
A source from within Whitehall concluded: “As we come out of the COVID-19 pandemic some of the issues that were put on pause during it – like obesity and social care – have come back on stream.
“The social care problem has been around for ages and there is a renewed focus now on getting it fixed.”