Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced a 1.25% health and social care levy through national insurance contributions that will take effect from April 2022.
Speaking in the Commons, the PM said the levy would raise £36bn over three years for frontline health and social care services.
The PM, who admitted that the move broke a Conservative manifesto promise, said: “Governments have ducked this problem for decades …. This is the right and reasonable and fair approach.”
The changes mean that from October 2023 no-one will have to pay more than £86,000 for care over their lifetime with those with assets between £20,000 and £100,000 receiving some means test support.
Anyone who has assets of less than £20,000 will have their care costs fully covered by the state.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer called the plans “a tax rise on young people, support workers and nurses, that places another burden on business” which put merely a “sticking plaster over gaping wounds”.
UNISON general secretary Christina McAnea said: “General taxation should be the solution for social care, not national insurance hikes.”
The union chief accused the PM of taking a “cart-before-the-horse approach” and called for a “detailed plan” to “mend and future-proof a sector broken by years of neglect”.
While welcoming the extra funding as “positive news”, ICG Chair, Mike Padgham said there were indications the NHS would remain the priority for the government with better funding for social care only being ‘phased in’.
Mike said any reform “must tackle the staffing issue” and described capping care costs as a “good beginning but just the start”.
Social Care Institute for Excellence Chief Executive, Kathryn Smith, said it was up to the sector to make best use of the funding.
Kathryn added: “A fully transformed social care system needs to be personalised for people, using their assets rather than asking what is wrong with them. It needs to be more integrated with health; and regularly adapting to innovation to reach more people and extend the workforce.
“And it must put people who draw on services at its heart so that they are central to the decisions made about them. We call that co-production. In turn that will attract more people to the social care workforce, so that people who draw on services have much better experiences and outcomes.”
Professor Martin Green OBE, Chief Executive of Care England, said: “We have been waiting for a very long time for any concrete plans on the long term sustainability of adult social care reform and as such we welcome the Prime Minister’s announcement today. We want to go through the plans carefully and it is our hope that social care will be rewarded and recognised rather than playing second fiddle to the NHS. It is essential that money reaches the frontline.”