Health & Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid and Chancellor Rishi Sunak (pictured) are reported to favour funding social care reform through higher taxation.
The FT reported last week that Health and Social Care Secretary, Mr Javid, favours a Japanese-style levy on the over 40s to fund social care, while the Treasury is considering introducing a dedicated tax.
Mr Javid, who was appointed last month, after the resignation of Matt Hancock, has said he is seeking “a long-lasting, sustainable solution to the social care challenge that this country faces”.
However, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said the Tories should honour their election manifesto commitments to freeze income tax, national insurance and value added tax.
Economist Sir Andrew Dilnot, meanwhile, has said it will cost £10bn a year to introduce a cap on social care costs of around £50,000. Recent research published by The Health Foundation shows recent ‘Red Wall’ seats won by the Tories have most to gain from a cap. Mr Dilnot has backed a tax increase of some form to pay for social care reforms.
News of the tax plans, was given a cool response from Nick Sanderson, CEO of retirement living provider, Audley Group, however.
Speaking last week, Nick said: “Hearing Sunak and Javid return to the age old solution of taxation to fix the social care crisis gives me a familiar sinking feeling. Taxation might be one part of the solution, but it’s myopic to focus only on money when there are solutions that don’t stretch the public purse. And how often can we say that? The government should be jumping on anything that saves Treasury funds for other priorities.
“Yesterday saw the first Westminster debate on housing with care, and an acknowledgement of the need to grow the sector. Let’s focus on improving planning policy so that providers can build more units of these specialist properties with care facilities attached, which is proven to take pressure of the social care and healthcare system. The sector can then free up budget to plug those much needed gaps in funding.”
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “We are committed to the sustainable improvement of the adult social care system and, as set out in the Queen’s Speech, we will bring forward proposals later this year to ensure every person receives the care they need, provided with the dignity they deserve.
“We are working closely with local and national partners to ensure our approach to reform is informed by diverse perspectives, including from people with lived experience of the care sector.”