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'Social care funding needs shake-up' say MPs

PUBLISHED: 13:47 27 June 2018

Norman Lamb. Pic: Liberal Democrats.

Norman Lamb. Pic: Liberal Democrats.

Liberal Democrats

Norfolk MPs have called for “radical changes” to help fund the social care system.

The call comes after a committee of MPs urged ministers to introduce a new “social care premium” for England, paid by individuals and employers, to meet the spiralling costs of looking after the country’s ageing population.

The cross-party group of MPs warned the current system of adult social care is “unsustainable” without a major reform, with “many billions of pounds” needed in additional funding over the next decade.

And North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb – a former Lib Dem health minister in the coalition government – agrees there needs to be a shake-up.

“I don’t have a fixed view about the particular route to use although I have been clear that we need to establish a dedicated NHS and care tax,” he said. “With income tax you stop paying at 65. So all those people who are in many cases earning quite high incomes over that age – people who have got to the top of organisations and get a good salary, unbelievably are not paying National Insurance. And someone close to the living wage in their 20s is paying. That is not fair. In the design of any new tax you need to make sure it is fair between the generations.

“For those earning a good income from investments and so forth, there is a good case for a care levy being charged against that as well as income against work.

“There is a lot of work to be done but this is a very helpful report. If we want a modern health system we have to as a society be willing to pay a bit more for it. We need radical changes.”

In a joint report, the Housing, Communities and Local Government and Health and Social Care Committees asked the government to consider moving to a “social insurance system”.

The levy would only apply to people over 40 and would be means tested.

Norwich South MP Clive Lewis also backed changes in how social care was funded. He said: “Under the Tories, funding for adult social care in Norfolk has been decimated. The County Council has been forced by Tory central government to make annual cuts of around £350million – more than the £320m it spends on providing care each year. It is obvious adult social care needs more money.”

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