Social care levy only a 'partial fix', warns council leader

Andrew Proctor, leader of Norfolk County Council. Pic: Norfolk County Council.

Andrew Proctor, leader of Norfolk County Council. Pic: Norfolk County Council. - Credit: Norfolk County Council

The leader of Norfolk County Council has voiced concerns that the government's new social care levy will not be enough to meet its "immediate and pressing" needs.

On Tuesday, prime minister Boris Johnson announced a new health and social care levy, which will be introduced across the UK to pay for reforms to the care sector and NHS funding in England. 

The tax will begin as a 1.25pc rise in National Insurance from April 2022, and will be a separate levy on earned income from 2023.

Mr Johnson said it was a "difficult but responsible decision" on how to finance the changes.

He told MPs the new tax will raise almost £36bn for the NHS frontline.

County council leader Andrew Proctor welcomed the announcement for additional funding, but said it is only a "partial fix".

“[Cabinet member for adult services] Bill Borrett and I have pressed the government, repeatedly, to address the real and mounting pressures on care services, which threaten to drag down the budget of every major council," he said.

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"So, I welcome today’s announcement for additional funding for care services.

“In welcoming the funds promised for both the NHS and social care, I am concerned that today’s announcement will not be sufficient to meet this council’s immediate and pressing need this winter and next year.

“Most of the money is going to the NHS, as they have significant financial challenges on the back of the Covid pandemic, but so do our people’s services for adults and children. Social care cannot be in second place after NHS needs have been met. There is also the fact the timing could mean that we have two years to wait before we see the full positive impact."

He said it was only a "partial fix" and lacked additional money to cover the "whole of our front line social care remit".

And Steve Morphew, Labour group leader at the council, said the government did not seem to "grasp the enormity of the problem".

"They are propping up a broken care system without addressing the urgent problems facing those needing care and carers right now, not in a couple of years," he said.

"Structural changes required in the care industry need careful planning and implementation alongside maintaining existing care for those needing it."

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