Funding for later life care.October 10, 2020
The prime minister pledged over a year ago to “fix the crisis in social care once and for all”. From the bed-blocking crisis to long waiting lists for care at home, the social care crisis has been well documented. The issue arising from the fact that the UK population is getting older and the group who typically need the most care support, the elderly, are now the fastest growing age group in the UK. The Office for National Statistics reports that by 2041 there will be double the number of UK citizens 85 years and over. This will undoubtably add to the already growing strain on our health care service.
To solve this issue, the government have proposed a radical plan. Charge the over 40’s £700 extra tax, to cover the cost of their care later on in life. Similar strategies have been successfully adopted by other countries, namely Japan and Germany. Caroline Abrahams, the charity director at Age UK, states that these strategies “offer[s] a level of provision and reassurance that we can only dream of here at the moment.”
There is no question that a strategy is needed to ensure that the appropriate care can be given to those that need it, when they need it most. The average cost of a care home is almost £1000 per week, according to Which?. Currently, if your capital is over £23,250 then you are expected to self-fund your care needs which is not sustainable for everyone. The cost of care is one issue, to add to this, there is insufficient care to help the elderly to stay at home. 1.5million people miss out on social care that could help them stay at home, and are instead being prematurely moved into care homes which are growing more expensive, and can require them to sell their homes to cover the costs.
The clock is ticking. In 2018 advisors calculated that the National Insurance Contributions (NIC) pot, will run dry by April 2033. This is the pot from which state pensions are paid.
The new proposal may be the most plausible solution to the social care problem, but it may not be the most popular plan. Over 40’s typically tend to have outstanding bills and loans to pay, covering student loans, child care and mortgages. Could this anger a generation that already have substantial costs to cover?