The UK’s largest pensioners’ groups warns that reports the government aims to fund social care reform by putting 1p on National Insurance contributions must not be seen as a tax on the young.
Young need to understand NI funding of social care is
an investment in their own future
The National Pensioners’ Convention says working people of all ages, including the young, would be investing in their future care from a sector that is on its knees.
Not to invest now – either through a penny on NI, or on income tax as the NPC has suggested - means social care as we know it may barely exist, except for the well-off, when today’s young people retire.
NPC General Secretary Jan Shortt said: “The NPC is campaigning for a National Care Service which we have long shown can be funded by a small increase in both NI and income tax and other measures. Although the figures quoted in our 2020 ‘Goodbye Cinderella’ report* may have changed, the principle is the same – a fair re-distribution of the country's wealth to protect us all in later life.
“Young people will be paying for their future care. To suggest, as some critics are doing, that increasing NI and/or income tax is unfair on the young is untrue and a distraction.
She added: “But rather than this piecemeal leaking of how Prime Minister Boris Johnson might keep his promise to ‘fix the crisis in social care,’ we need the government to come clean on whether this is their only idea for improving our ailing care sector.”
The NPC is calling for a high-quality, fully funded and publicly accountable National Care Service, free at the point of need for all, with the service user at its heart. It would work in tandem with the NHS but would crucially be independent.
Jan Shortt said: “The NPC is concerned at reports that the NI increase will initially go towards funding the NHS in the wake of the pandemic. While funds need to be found for the health service, it is imperative that this NI increase is ring-fenced for care, in line with public surveys carried out by the Daily Express. Care has been chronically underfunded for decades as has the NHS. Robbing Peter to pay Paul is not the answer.
“A National Care Service is a radical proposal, but it is one that deals with the issue of equity-funded providers, will give security of tenure in care homes, will give care workers value and respect for what they do, and will ultimately provide future generations with the quality of care they need when they retire.”
The NPC has also written to all MPs urging them to oppose the government’s NHS Health and Care Bill, which is currently going through Parliament, because they fear it will ultimately lead to wholesale privatisation of the NHS. The Bill alludes to care reform but gives little detail. However, the NPC fears what is proposed will create a far less publicly accountable and ultimately poorer quality NHS, with billions in public money going to shareholders rather than to the care of taxpayers.
Jan Shortt said: “The government’s plans in this Bill would clearly undermine the principles of the NHS on which we have all relied since 1948. There is also the question of social care reform that remains in the background. Funding for care is not a feature of the Bill and as an older person’s organisation, we are urging the government to ensure that the frailest and vulnerable in society are treated with the utmost respect.”
Download the press release
* The Goodbye Cinderella report was produced by the NPC Health and Social Care Working Party, which consisted of senior representatives from the NHS and social care. They conducted a survey of 500 members at our Pensioner’s Parliament, as well as our affiliated groups (more than 1,000 pensioners’ groups are affiliated across the UK) in 2018 and 2019. They also sought feedback from experts in the care sector, such as Professor David Oliver, before committing to the final version of the report. Copies can be obtained on https://www.npcuk.org/shop