Boris Johnson ‘backs new tax to fund social care plan’

It comes after prime minister promised to ‘fix’ social care crisis in 2019

Zoe Tidman
Friday 16 July 2021 07:09
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Today's daily politics briefing

Boris Johnson is backing plans for a new tax to fund long-overdue reforms to social care in England, according to reports.

Downing Street is “comfortable with some sort of tax” to cover universal social care, a government source told The Times.

The reforms could also include a cap on how much people have to pay for their own care, it reported.

Mr Johnson promised he had a plan to “fix the crisis in social care” in July 2019. The government also pledged it would publish its long-awaited proposal to fix the system by the end of the year.

But new health secretary Sajid Javid said last week he could not put “an exact date” on the commitment. He said he hoped his department could reveal a “general sense of direction” soon.

According to The Times, the plans for social care reforms are still being finalised but there are “huge efforts from No10 to get the thing over the line”.

As well as a new tax to pay for the reforms, the proposals reportedly include extra funding to ensure more people get help and better bay for staff.

The prime minister, Mr Javid and chancellor Rishi Sunak are understood to be pushing to agree the terms of a package by as early as next Thursday, before the summer recess, The Telegraph reported.

Mr Johnson is thought to be keen to have something to present to the public before the second anniversary of his arrival at No 10 next weekend.

Caroline Abrahams, the charity director of Age UK, warned the government it could not offer a “penny pinching response” to the social care crisis.

She said: “If a credible package of social care refinancing and reform requires a tax rise, so be it, provided it’s fair. It would be worth it for the reassurance and dignity we all gained in return.”

Andrew Dilnot, who led a major review into social care funding a decade ago, warned earlier this year that the system could remain unfixed until after the next general election if plans were not revealed in the upcoming spending review.

“If we don’t make decisions this year, it’s very hard to see how they can be implemented before the next election,” he said.

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