Committee led by Sheffield MP calls for over 40s to pay more to fund social care

Clive Betts MP.
Clive Betts MP.

The over 40s, retired people and employers should pay more to meet the cost of social care, according to a committee led by a Sheffield MP.

A joint report from the housing, communities and local government and health and social care committees says the 'social care premium' would help address the problem of an 'unsustainable' system.

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Under the proposals payments would start at the age of 40 and extend beyond 65.

But a minimum earnings threshold would be considered to protect those on low incomes.

In addition, pensions and investments would also be included in the calculation of contributions.

The report also called for an additional inheritance tax for estates above a certain value and for employers to pay a new contribution.

It outlines how the money raised should be held in a dedicated and audited fund to reassure the public it would only be used to provide social care.

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The report describes the social care system as being "under very great and unsustainable strain" and highlights the urgent need to plug a funding gap of up to £2.5 billion in the next financial year.

Clive Betts, MP for Sheffield South East and chair of the housing, communities and local government committee, said: "The social care system is in a critical condition and there is an urgent need for more funding both now and in the future to ensure people are properly looked after.

"Given the huge funding gulf, the government should now take the opportunity to build both a political and public consensus around the need for a new social care premium to secure a fair and sustainable system in the long-term."

The committee adds that the personal element of social care - such as help with washing, dressing and eating - should eventually be delivered free but accommodation costs should continue to be paid on a means-tested basis.

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They also recommend that an independent body should be tasked with modelling requirements and providing the Government with two-yearly forecasts.

The Government has pledged to publish its proposals for social care reforms in a green paper this autumn.