Tax hikes are the only way to meet the challenge of a broken care system

Editorial: Depending on the nature of illness in old age, one citizen may end up losing their home and most of their savings while another is taken care of free of charge

Friday 03 September 2021 21:30
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<p>Since the Dilnot report of 2011 virtually nothing has been done</p>

Since the Dilnot report of 2011 virtually nothing has been done

There is no challenge less suited to solution by the British political system than social care for the elderly, infirm and some people with disabilities.

It is, by definition, long term; where politicians’ horizons are notoriously short. It demands a bipartisan consensus, while Westminster politics favours division and opposition for its own sake. It might work better under a rational system of personal taxation, while Britain persists with its inconsistent and archaic twin systems of income tax and national insurance. Above all, it demands political courage, and that’s never been a commodity in plentiful supply.

There are signs that the sheer stress on local authorities and the NHS may be about to force some change. The briefings and counter briefings about prospective tax hikes from Whitehall are at least an indication that debate is under way, and something may arise from that in the chancellor’s autumn statement, due on 27 October, with rumours of a prime ministerial statement of intent as early as next week.

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