Brits over the age of 40 could face paying higher taxes in a bid to help fund the cost of social care, it was reported today.
Under plans reportedly being considered by ministers, over-40s would have to pay more tax or national insurance, or be asked to insure themselves against bills for care when they are older.
The higher taxes would be used to pay for the help that elderly people need at home, or to cover a stay in a care home, according to the Guardian.
The plans, which aim to fulfil Boris Johnson‘s pledge to “fix the crisis in social care once and for all”, are being considered by the Government’s new health and social care taskforce and the Department of Health.
Over-40s meeting the costs of the reformed social care system, which will be a modified version of how Japan and Germany fund social care, is the Government’s preferred option, sources told the publication.
“The latest thinking is that there’s a preference for some sort of Japanese-style model where once you are over 40 you start paying into a central risk pool,” a source said. “They are deadly serious about that.”
Any insurance model would need to be compulsory to ensure people paid, social care experts warned.
Caroline Abrahams, the charity director at Age UK, said it “may be a rather good deal” as the system would offer “a level of provision and reassurance that we can only dream of here at the moment”.
Ex-Liberal Democrat MP Paul Burstow, who was social care minister in the coalition government from 2010-12, said: “Introducing an insurance contribution from the over-40s would help put social care on a firm footing for the future.
“This approach has already been adopted in other countries on a mandatory basis to ensure risk is fairly spread and sufficient funds are raised.”
The chair of the Social Care Institute for Excellence added that any social care reform needs to “avoid the lottery of huge lifetime care bills”.
Meanwhile, a Whitehall source told the Guardian “there is a renewed focus” on getting the “social care problem fixed”.
“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,” they said.