Tory ministers are reportedly studying radical plans to hike tax for everyone over 40 to pay for social care.
According to The Guardian, those over 40 would have to pay more in tax or national insurance – or have to take out insurance against ending up in a care home.
The plan presented to ministers would help plug the growing, multi-billion pound hole in social care funding which will only grow as people live longer.
But a government source denied Health Secretary Matt Hancock is “championing” the idea, as the Guardian reported.
The source did not deny the idea was under consideration but said it was not a firm plan. They added: “That Matt is an advocate of this plan, and has been arguing for it in government, is just plain wrong.”
The idea echoes one that was raised by Tory former minister Damian Green in 2018.
He suggested a levy could cost a worker on an average salary of £27,600 an extra £364 a year. Someone earning £52,000 a year would pay an extra £884.
Mr Green said at the time: “More and more people are going to live to 100 and we must plan for it.
“The next generation or two will not have the same amount of money invested in homes.
“So we should add maybe 2% in a compulsory National Insurance levy cutting in at around 40 years old – as they do in Japan – so your social care is guaranteed and you won’t have to sell off your house.”
A year ago Boris Johnson claimed there was “a clear plan we have prepared” to fix social care.
Yet he has failed to outline any details of that plan, is still consulting with opposition parties, and can’t guarantee it’ll be published this year.
The only hard pledge is that nobody will have to sell their home to pay for care.
That is a change from the current system, which bills some people until they have only have £23,250 left.
The PM’s official spokesman said on Thursday: “We remain committed to bringing forward a plan for social care so everybody is treated with dignity and respect, and nobody has to sell their home to pay for care.
“The Health Secretary has sought views from across Parliament, but this is one of the most complex issues we face, and it’s right we take the time to develop a fair and sustainable solution.”
Asked to confirm the PM had no plan when he said he had one a year ago, the spokesman replied: “We continue to work on the proposals.
“I don’t think we shy away from the fact that this is a very complex area and that we do need to make sure that we get it right, and that we deliver a solution which is fair and also which is sustainable.