Social care funding plans expected this week as NI proposals face backlash

House of Commons

Plans for social care funding reform are expected to be announced tomorrow (September 7), according to press reports.

The news comes amid rows over how to pay for social care going forward, with both Conservative and Labour MPs criticising plans to increase national insurance by at least 1%.

Despite the care sector welcoming the news, it has has triggered a backlash across the political spectrum.

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Tory MP Marcus Fysh told the Sunday Telegraph: “I don’t think they should use National Insurance contributions, I think that’s a regressive way of doing it.

“I would rather do it in a straightforward and honest fashion and put it on taxation.”

Former health secretary and current chair of the Health and Social Care Select Committee Jeremy Hunt suggested social care should be funded through a tax increase rather than a national insurance rise that “disproportionately targets” the young.

In an interview with BBC Radio 4, he said: “Since older people are the biggest beneficiaries, it’s fair they should make a contribution.”

The Labour Party and unions have also voiced their opposition to hiking national insurance to pay for social care.

Shadow Foreign Secretary Lisa Nandy told the BBC that the “burden of the social care crisis” shouldn’t fall on “supermarket workers and delivery drivers”, while Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer is facing pressure to back an increase in capital gains tax to pay for the reform.

Rachel Harrison, GMB National Officer said: “We all know our crumbling social care system desperately needs more cash.

“But raising regressive national insurance  – which takes money from the pockets of the lowest paid workers, is not the way to do it.

“However the cash is raised, a portion of it must be ring fenced cash to improve the pay, terms and conditions of workers across social care to reflect the skilled and valued job they do. 

“The largely women workforce in social care deserve no less than the average UK wage, £15 an hour. Government and employers must make this a priority.”

Meanwhile, United Kingdom Homecare Association (UKHCA) welcomed the news that the government plans to bring forward plans for reform and funding of social care this week as “encouraging”, but warned that reform should not be focused solely on avoiding the sale of houses to pay for care homes.

The organisation said in a blog post: “We need investment in meeting people’s needs and helping us all to live well at home. Key to this is investing in our homecare workforce, ensuring they are well-trained and fairly rewarded for their skill and experience. We also need investment in innovation.

“The government needs to have an honest conversation with the electorate about how our health and care needs can be met now and in the future. This is a high priority for everyone, and we are clearly not coping at present. In 30 years’ time, projections suggest the number of older and disabled people will more than double.”

Tags : national insurancereformsocial care reform
Sarah Clarke

The author Sarah Clarke