The Health and Social Care and the Housing, Communities and Local Government Committees have published their joint report into the long-term funding of adult social care.
During the inquiry process, Later Life Ambitions met with key members of the Committee to advocate for the right approach to the funding social care for LLA members.
As a Later Life Ambitions partner, we ran a survey to better understand our member’s views on funding social care and this provided a valuable basis for our suggestions for the report.
We were very encouraged to see that the need for a cross-party approach to reforming social care funding is referenced throughout the report. LLA have long stated that a cross-party working group should be established to take the politics out of social care and agree a consistent, long-term way forward.
LLA also advocates for a dedicated ring-fenced tax to fund social care serves, so we were interested to see that that the new report has recommended that people aged over 40 should pay a dedicated social care premium to fund free social care in the future. We will now look closely at the proposals when they are announced in full, and in particular we will want assurances that the burden for generating new funding does not fall unfairly on pensioners through the introduction of a tax based upon National Insurance.
Key recommendations from the report include:
- The introduction of a ‘Social Care Premium’, either as an additional element of National Insurance or with the premium paid into dedicated not-for-profit social insurance fund that would only be used for social care. The premium should only be paid by those aged over 40 and extended to those over the age of 65.
- Personal element of social care, such as help with washing, dressing and eating, should eventually be delivered free to everyone who needs it, although accommodation costs should continue to be paid on a means-tested basis.
- An independent body should be tasked with modelling requirements and providing the Government with two-yearly forecasts.
- Levy an extra amount of Inheritance Tax on estates valued above a certain threshold and capped at a percentage of the total value.
- Reform council tax valuations and bands and for local authorities to be able to use new funding from additional business rates retention in 2020.
The report is an encouraging recognition of the considerable challenges posed by social care, and it represents and important first step towards resolving these issues. LLA will now continue to campaign to ensure that the Social Care Green Paper, which is now expected in the autumn, represents the views of our members and provides a sustainable, long-term vision for social care in the UK.
We encourage members to continue to write to their MP using our social care green paper toolkit, which is available online here.