No 10 denies plans to make over-40s pay more tax amid social care crisis

Elliot Chappell

10 Downing Street has rejected reports that the government is considering a move to make the over-40s pay more in taxes to contribute towards the cost of social care amid an escalating crisis in the sector.

Follow a report in The Guardian this morning that the government is working on a proposal that would see people aged over 40 pay more in National Insurance contributions or tax, the Prime Minister’s spokesperson dismissed the idea.

The paper had reported that “the principle of over-40s meeting the cost of a reformed system of care for the ageing population is emerging as the government’s preferred option” to fix the crisis in social care.

But Johnson’s spokesperson said this afternoon: “No, it’s not true that we are considering this policy. This is one of the most complex issues which we face and we need to take the time to ensure that we come forward with a solution that is fair, which is also sustainable.”

In his first speech as PM in July 2019, Boris Johnson pledged to “fix the crisis in social care once and for all”, and according to the The Guardian sources in government have said that there is a “renewed urgency” to find a solution.

However, the spokesperson today could not give a date as to when the government might put forward its proposals for the funding, resourcing and delivery of a new system for the care sector in the UK.

This latest in the discussion on social care comes after chief executive of NHS England Simon Stevens told The Andrew Marr Show, on the 72nd anniversary of the creation of the NHS, that he hopes the country will find a solution by next year.

He said: “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.”

Reacting to the reports from The Guardian earlier today, general secretary of the Fabian Society and former Age UK policy director Andrew Harrop tweeted his support for the idea – citing its ability to raise “a lot of money”.

He said that he had been sceptical of an age-based tax but wrote: “Reasons I’ve changed my mind and would support this now: anything is better than another ten years of inaction; U-40s worst hit by two mega recessions in a row; raises a lot of money.”

Age-based solutions for social care can be seen in other countries around the world. In Japan, people contribute once they reach the age of 40 while in Germany everyone pays towards the cost of social care from the time they start work.

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