Taxes Must Rise to Fund Social Care, Warns LGA

Taxes should be increased at a national level to address the growing gap in social care funding, the Local Government Association argued this week.

Frustrated at ongoing delays to the Government’s green paper on social care, the LGA had published its own consultation during the summer. On Wednesday November 14 it released the responses and its own recommendations.

With the care sector facing a shortfall of almost £3.6 billion by 2025 simply to maintain existing standards, the overwhelming majority of the 540 respondents agreed that new, nationwide investment is urgently needed. The most popular way of raising this money was found to be an increase in National Insurance.

As a highly progressive levy that affects almost everyone nationwide, National Insurance was found to be preferable to the more regressive Income Tax, locally-raised taxation or means-tested measures.

LGA Community Wellbeing Board chair Councillor Ian Hudspeth said: “The Government must use its upcoming green paper to make a serious case for national tax rises including either increases to Income Tax and/or National Insurance to provide long term sustainability for the vital social care services that are central to helping people to live fulfilling, independent lives.

“Now is the time for answers. And every day that is spent further defining the problem and consulting on changes that only really tinker at the edges of the debate, is another day in which people’s lives are not being lived to the full.”

In an interview at the weekend the Health Secretary expressed his attraction to a National Insurance-based funding solution after the German model.

The idea of a higher rate of NICS for workers over 40 had been put forward by a panel of Commons committees earlier in the year.

Matt Hancock told the Sunday Telegraph: “One of the reasons I’m attracted to the proposal is that it’s cross party. This is a problem which can only be solved by people coming together behind a solution, because as soon as it’s turned into a political football it makes it extremely difficult to make any progress at all.

“I’m prepared to have a range of options and see if we can build a consensus around one of them rather than be dogmatic about it.”

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